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Razorfishes Scorpionfish & Lionfish

The waspfishes are a family of small fish related to the scorpionfishes, and as their name suggests they are often venomous, having poison glands on their spines.

Similar to stonefish, waspfish have razor sharp, mobile bone in their cheeks, which can be quickly extended like a switch-blade and is known as a 'lachrymal saber'. The head actually has many ridges and spines.

Usually well camouflaged, these ambush predators seek safe haven hiding spots on the seabed.

1 species found on this page.

Cockatoo Waspfish

Ablabys taenianotus

Cockatoo waspfish are strongly compressed (flat) fish growing up to 15 cm in length. The dorsal fin starts on top of the head, in front of the eyes and continues to the tail fin. The dorsal fin spines are venomous, and when spread, the dorsal fin resembles the crest on a cockatoo.

Cockatoo Waspfish (Ablabys taenianotus) @ Koh Haa

Ablabys taenianotus @ Koh Haa

This species normally lives on the seabed and drifts with the currents, sometimes rocking back and forth with the surge. This drifting behaviour mimics a dead leaf and allows the waspfish to ambush its prey, typically small crustaceans.

Cockatoo Waspfish (Ablabys taenianotus) @ Koh Haa

Cockatoo Waspfish drifting @ Koh Haa

Cockatoo waspfish use their pectoral fins for movement on the sea bed, and the color varies from cream to dark brown, with irregular spots, or black.

Find Out More: Marine Life References and Further Information

Diving with Waspfishes

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