; subclass Actinopterygii, order Scorpaeniformes)
A very large family of bony fish that have moderately compressed bodies, large heads with prominent eyes, and a bony ridge or stay across the cheeks. The gill cover is usually protected by a number of sharp spines. The pelvic fins are placed far forward under the fan-like pectoral fins. Scorpionfish are bottom-dwellers and poor swimmers. Although many species have intricate colour patterns, few can match the striking appearance of Pterois volitans (lionfish), 30 cm. Like most scorpionfish, the lionfish has venom glands at the bases of the fin spines and can inflict very painful stings. However, many species are quite edible and several are harvested commercially. There are about 330 species, distributed world-wide in tropical and temperate seas.
Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.