The Taenianotus triacanthus, also known as Leaf Scorpionfish from Family Scorpaenidae or the scorpionfishes, is of Monotypic Genus, consisting of only one species, widely distributed in Indo-Pacific Region. It could be found from Galapagos Island to East Africa, as north as southern Japan to French – Polynesia and as south as Australia. They can grow up to 13 cm in nature, but only up to 10 cm in captivity, making them a great display animal for their not so big sizes.
They can be found in pairs, singly, or even in small groups at depths from 1 – 135 meters. They tend to feed on living smaller species, such as small shrimps, mollies and guppies. This fish acts like a leaf on water, then if a prey crosses its sight, it eats the prey immediately, in short, an ambush predator. They are bottom dwellers that prefer to stay on the lower part of the reef, where food is more abundant for them. They don’t have interest in larger prey, and constantly pursue their foods to know if it fits in their mouth. Their color can vary from green and/or red to transparent white, and changes their color when they molt.
They are also known as Paper fish, Leaf fish, or flat Scorpionfish, due to their deep compressed body. The leaf scorpionfish also tend to bend their heads lower than their tail and move themselves side to side, like a leaf in a moving water current. They have spikes and spines, poisonous enough to kill, in order to protect them from predators. They also have a good amount of ability to camouflage within the reefs in order to hunt or not to be hunted.
Leaf scorpionfish can be spotted in the shallow staghorn corals in Dauin Sanctuary and Masaplod, but also were seen in Apo Island.