Rosy Scorpionfish, Pontinus Species A: The Rosy Scorpionfish is characterized by its overall scorpionfish-like appearance with a spine-laden thick body and large flexible fins. They have a pinkish red coloration with irregular oblique brown bars on the sides, a broken brown stripe along the lateral line and red fins with brown spots on the caudal, second dorsal fin and pectorals. The head is very bony with numerous spines with a large eye. They have XII dorsal spines and the 2nd and 3rd dorsal spines are not elongated.
The Rosy Scorpionfish are found from 150 and 450 feet deep in the water column within rocky and rubble bottoms. They are reported to reach a maximum length of 20 cm but the fish below well exceeds this limit.
The Rosy Scorpionfish is most likely confused with the Speckled Scorpionfish, Pontinus sierra (lack the prominent spotting on the caudal and 2nd dorsal fins).
Rosy Scorpionfish are found along the Pacific side of Baja south to Magdalena Bay, and along the coast of the mainland from Acapulco to Guatemala; they are absent from the Sea of Cortez. However the fish pictured below was caught about 40 miles north of Cabo San Lucas on the west coast of Baja indicative that this species can be found well south of Magdalena Bay south along the west coast of Baja.
Note: Although we have no personal experience of being injured by a scorpionfish, we are aware that they can inflict instant major pain with significant swelling. Medical reports indicate that these wounds are not life-threatening and treatment involves soaking the affected area for 30 to 90 minutes in water between 110 and 112 degrees. The scorpion toxins are peptides that are broken down by human enzymes into non-toxic fragments with the process significantly enhanced by heat. Although spine wounds sometimes cause no complications at all, scorpionfish should be treated as “extremely hazardous” and released as soon as possible, being careful not to allow poisonous spines to penetrate the skin. Medical treatment should be sought for any wounds that cause significant pain or other symptoms.
The Rosy Scorpionfish is a member of the Scorpaenidae Family which in Mexican fishing areas are known as escorpiones and rocotes.