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Hawaiian Turkeyfish

The Hawaiian turkeyfish (also known as Hawaiian lionfish) is a member of the Scorpionfish family. There are roughly 25 species of Scorpionfish that inhabit Hawaiian waters; the Hawaiian turkeyfish can grow up to 8 inches long and is the only endemic species within the Scorpionfish family.

Hawaiian turkeyfish is a dramatic reddish-brown specimen with vertical white stripes, a long single dorsal spine, and extended spines on the pectoral fins. Its spines are venomous and can deliver a painful sting.

The Hawaiian turkeyfish is found at depths of 9 to 400 feet and occasionally spotted by a lucky daytime diver swimming openly in late afternoons or early mornings. It is a nocturnal hunter, preying on crustaceans and small fish. As a skilled ambush predator they corner prey with their large fins and have a lightning fast gulp reflex, much like the frogfish. During the day, this fish stays in caves under ledges, often upside down. Due to its venomous spines, it is never recommended to reach into crevices or caves as one of these animals might be lurking in the area.

*Due to the constant rotation of animals back to the ocean, the presence of any specific animal cannot be guaranteed

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