Scorpaena porcus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Scorpaena porcus image

Synonyms: Cottus massiliensis Gmelin, 1778; Scorpena porcus Blach, 1788; Scorpena rascassa Lacepede, 1801.

Common names: Engl: Scorpionfish; Bulg: Skorpid; Rom: Scorpia de mare; Russ: Morskoy yorsh; Turk: Lipsoz.

Order (Scientific): SCORPAENIFORMES.

Family (Scientific): SCORPAENIDAE.

Taxonomic descriptions: The head has conspicuous branched fleshy flaps, particularly above the eyes and at the anterior nasal openings, but none on the lower jaw nor on the free edges of the scales or along the lateral line and the back; upper jaw without a conspicuous longitudinal ridge; two pores are present under the chin behind the junction of the lower jaws; back and sides are brown, marbled with irregular darker bands and patches. Large head, armed with numerous spines and crests, strong venomous spines in the anterior portion of the dorsal fin, wide mouth with very small teeth and the large, rounded pectoral fins with upper rays branched and lower ones simple; behind the eyes, the profile of the head shows a pronounced depression. Size: maximum: 25 cm; common: about 15 cm.

Scorpaena porcus arealIUCN Status:
    World level:
    Black Sea Regional level:
    Subregion level: VU


Habitat type, Critical habitats, Limiting factors: Sedentary and solitary species inhabiting littoral waters amongst rocks and seaweeds. Common in the Mediterranean Sea, the eastern Atlantic from the British Isles to the Canary Islands. The littoral areas of the north-western Black Sea are critical habitats due to pollution. Pollution, hypoxia.

Biology: Feeds mainly on small fishes such as gobies and blennies, but also on crustaceans and other invertebrates. Sedentary and solitary species; spawns in summer; eggs covered with a mucilaginous membrane; sexual maturity in 3 years old, rarely in 2 years.

Population trends: After 1975, in the conditions intensified eutrophication and blooms, periodic hypoxia and other anthropogenic pressures led to a decline in this species. It is very rare in catches but present in isolated individuals even in recent years (1990-1995).

Threats: The reduction in oxygen concentrations and the increase in the organic matter content in littoral waters; the impoverishment of algal communities.

Conservation measures taken: None.

Conservation measures proposed: Developing actions concerning the construction of artificial reefs for the restoration of optimal conditions.


  1. FAO Species identification sheets for fishery purposes. Mediterranean and Black Sea, fishing area 37. FAO, Rome. vol. I, 1973.
  2. Radu, Gh, Leonte, E., Butoi, G., Verioti, F., Gorban, A., Radu, E., 1996 - Principalele specii de pesti si mamifere din Marea Neagra (Determinator) (Main fish and mammals from the Black Sea). (In Rom.) (In press).

Compiled by: A.Petranu.