Wild Solway – Myoxocephalus Scorpius
The Short Spined Sea Scorpion Myoxocephalus Scorpius by Mark Vollers
This fearsome looking and threatening sounding fish is found all around the British and Irish coastline wherever there is rocky habitat from low water mark down to 100m, but it is not venomous and its only threat to anglers are it’s sharp spines and strong jaws. It can grow up to and beyond 20cm and weigh up to a Kilo, with colouring that varies hugely depending on where it chooses to live.
All shades of green, red, black and brown enable It’s smooth scale less body to blend in precisely with its surroundings. This perfect camouflage combined with a large mouth and powerful pectoral fins dictates it’s hunting method. Unsuspecting prey, some almost as big as itself are grabbed by ambush if they come within close range.
The Scorpion fish is otherwise a weak swimmer that confines itself to the seabed as it does not possess the swim bladder of most other fish. The only species it can be confused with is the Long Spined Sea Scorpion which is more common and often caught in rock pools.
This can be differentiated by a small white fang-like skin flap at each the corner of its mouth. The picture shows both species with the Short Spined fish on the left hand side. If you want to come and spot the differences yourself come to the Lake District Coast Aquarium at Maryport where they are both long standing and easily kept species.