SCIENCE IN PICS: Leaf Scorpionfish

December 7, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Epoch Times Photo
Leaf scorpionfish at Padangbai in Bali, Indonesia. (Matthew Oldfield)

Leaf scorpionfish, Taenianotus triacanthus, are found in various parts of the world, including the tropical Indo-Pacific and the Red Sea.

As their name suggests, they resemble a leaf with a flat shape, and large head and mouth.

These fish are ambush predators, lying in wait until a small fish or crustacean arrives. The predator will approach its prey slowly by moving on its pectoral fins, and then suddenly sucks it in by opening the mouth.

They are around 10 centimeters long, and often have blotchy skin to help them blend into their surroundings, sometimes with algae and hydroids growing on them.

They vary in color from green or yellowish to red or brown, or even white. The color can change after molting, which happens every 10 to 14 days.

Matthew Oldfield is a freelance photographer based in Bali, Indonesia, specializing in editorial and documentary images from both above and below the waves. He works primarily with charities, NGO’s, and other organizations working to conserve the environment, endangered species, and disappearing cultures.

Matthew is on Twitter @matthewoldfield. More of his photos can be found at

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