Scorpionfishes are named for the venomous fin spines of many in this species. The most dangerous of them is the Stonefish, which has caused fatalities from wounds with its spines. Fortunately, it does not occur in the Hawaiian Islands (although people have mistakenly called the larger Hawaiian species stonefishes). In Tahiti, the stonefish is called nohu. Researchers believe early Tahitian immigrants applied the name to the large Hawaiian Scorpionfishes not finding the stonefish in Hawaiian waters. Next in venom strength of Hawaiian Scorpionfishes are lionfishes and turkeyfishes.
The devil scorpionfish has venomous spines down its back and pectoral fins with a bright color warning others of danger. The yellow and orange arched stripes and black spots, which show when it scurries away on the ocean floor or over coral reefs where it sits waiting to ambush prey, usually feeding at dusk or during the night. Their favorite food is small fishes and crustaceans that unknowingly venture near. The devil scorpionfish and others in the family are known for their camouflage with some having fleshy flaps and small tentacles on the body and head.
As always when snorkeling and diving stay safe by avoiding touching the reef and never stick your hands into crevasses. A sting from scorpionfish in Hawaii is very rare, but so is seeing one. Keeping a vigilant eye while snorkeling and diving one might get very lucky to notice this ambush predator waiting on a rock or coral, or even scooting along a sandy sea floor.
*Due to the constant rotation of animals back to the ocean, the presence of any specific animal cannot be guaranteed.