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Flatheads Gurnards Scorpionfishes and Relatives: Scorpaeniformes

Behavior And Reproduction

Gurnards and flatheads lie and wait to ambush their prey, or animals hunted and killed for food. Little is known about the reproduction of flatheads and gurnards. They produce free-floating eggs. Some flatheads begin life as males and become females as they grow older.

Scorpionfishes can disguise themselves as leaves or rocks. Some scorpionfishes bury themselves in the sand. Most scorpionfishes live alone except to form mating groups. In many species the male places sperm in the female, and then the female squeezes out the eggs in a jellylike mass that floats at the surface. Other scorpionfishes scatter their eggs, which hatch into free-floating larvae. Larvae (LAR-vee) are animals in an early stage and must change form before becoming adults.


Scorpionfish venom affects both the nervous system and the blood vessels and has caused many human deaths. The effects of the venom are lessened if the wounded area is soaked in very hot, but not boiling, water.


The first red lionfish to live in the Atlantic Ocean were swept there when a home aquarium in Florida was shattered by Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Sculpins and greenlings feed by pouncing on and swallowing their prey whole or by sucking in the prey with a stream of water. Most greenlings and sculpins lay masses of eggs that always stick to each other but not always to the surface on which they land. Male sculpins and greenlings guard their egg masses.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceFish and Other Cold-Blooded VertebratesFlatheads Gurnards Scorpionfishes and Relatives: Scorpaeniformes - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Oriental Helmet Gurnard (dactyloptena Orientalis): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, FLATHEADS G