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Flatheads Gurnards Scorpionfishes and Relatives: Scorpaeniformes

Oriental Helmet Gurnard (dactyloptena Orientalis): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: Oriental helmet gurnards have a long thin body and grow to about 16 inches (40 centimeters) in length. The head is heavily armored. The body is gray to light brown, and there are dark brown and black spots on the back and sides. A long spine just behind the head is followed by a much smaller spine and then two dorsal (DOOR-suhl) fins, which are the fins along the midline of the back. The huge winglike pectoral fins are spotted and have striking blue wavy lines near the edges.


Geographic range: Oriental helmet gurnards live in the Indian Ocean and Red Sea and the Pacific Ocean east to the Hawaiian Islands.


Habitat: Oriental helmet gurnards live on sandy bottoms.


Diet: Oriental helmet gurnards eat bottom-dwelling crustaceans, clams, and fishes.

Oriental helmet gurnards "walk" along the sea floor stirring up and eating prey. (©Fred McConnaughey/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

Behavior and reproduction: Oriental helmet gurnards "walk" along the sea floor stirring up and eating prey. To defend themselves oriental helmet gurnards quickly expand their large winglike pectoral fins. Scientists know little about how oriental flying gurnards reproduce in the wild.


Oriental helmet gurnards and people: Oriental helmet gurnards are caught for the aquarium business.


Conservation status: Oriental helmet gurnards are not threatened or endangered. ∎

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