Rosy Scorpionfish

Rosy Scorpionfish, Pontinus Species A

The Rosy Scorpionfish, Pontinus Species A, whose common Spanish name is Puñal Rosado, is a member of the Scorpionfish or Scorpaenidae Family, known collectively as “Escorpiónes” or “Lapóns” in Mexico. This species is quite new to science, thus its taxonomy has not yet been fully documented and formally assigned.

The Rosy Scorpionfish have wide compressed bodies that taper toward both ends; their width is 37 to 41% of standard length. Overall they are pinkish-red (rosy) with a white head and belly. The have irregular brown bars on their sides and a broken brown line along their lateral line. Their fins are reddish with brown spotting on their caudal, soft dorsal, and pectoral fins. Their head is very bony with numerous spines. They have large mouths and large eyes. They lack the “pits” before and after the eyes found in most other Scorpionfish. The uppermost spine on their gill cover is the longest. Their anal fin has three spines, the second being the longest, and three rays; their caudal fin is straight; their dorsal fin has seven spines (the second, third, and fourth being the longest and of approximately equal length), and nine or ten rays; and their pectoral fins have sixteen to eighteen rays. They have thirteen gill rakers. Their bodies are covered with rough scales.

The Rosy Scorpionfish are found around rocky structures at depths between 150 and 450 feet. They reach a maximum length of 30 cm (12 inches), with this length established by a fish in my possession. They are an exceedingly rare species with a very limited distribution and are seldom seen by humans, thus very little is known about their behavioral patterns. They are found along the southwest coast of Baja from Magdalena Bay to Cabo San Lucas and along the west coast of the mainland from Mazatlán to Guatemala.

The Rosy Scorpionfish is most likely confused with the Speckled Scorpionfish, Pontinus sierra (lacks prominent spotting on caudal and soft dorsal fins).

Although fairly rare, the Rosy Scorpionfish are considered good eating fish. However, they are difficult to handle, thus are mostly a “catch and release”. Caution: As with all Scorpionfish, the Rosy Scorpionfish should be treated as “hazardous” and released as soon as possible, being careful not to allow their poisonous spines to penetrate the skin.

Rosy Scorpionfish

    Rosy Scorpionfish, Pontinus species A: Provided by the commercial fishermen of the greater Los Cabos area, Baja California Sur, December 2009. Size: 30 cm (11.8 inches). Identification courtesy of H.J. Walker, Jr., Scripps Institution of Oceanography and reconfirmed by Dr. John Hyde, NOAA, La Jolla, CA.
Rosy Scorpionfish, Pontinus species A: Provided by the commercial fishermen of the greater Los Cabos area, Baja California Sur, December 2009. Length: 30 cm (11.8 inches). Identification courtesy of H.J. Walker, Jr., Scripps Institution of Oceanography and reconfirmed by Dr. John Hyde, NOAA, La Jolla, CA.