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Taenianotus triacanthus

Threespine scorpionfish
Taenianotus triacanthus
File:Taenianotus triacanthus.jpg
Taenianotus triacanthus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclass: Gnathostomata
Class: Actinopterygii
Subclass: Neopterygii
Infraclass: Teleostei
Superorder: Acanthopterygii
Order: Scorpaeniformes
Suborder: Scorpaenoidei
Family: Scorpaenidae
Genus: Taenianotus
Series: Percomorpha
Species: T. triacanthus
Binomial name
Taenianotus triacanthus
Lacepède, 1802

Taenianothus triacanthus Lacepède, 1802
Taenianotus citrinellus Gilbert, 1905
Taeniatus triacanthus Lacepède, 1802
Taenionotus triacanthus Lacepède, 1802

The leaf scorpionfish or paperfish, Taenianotus triacanthus, is a species of marine fish, the sole member of its genus.

Vernacular Names

  • -: Blad-dragehovedfisk · Hadakahaokoze · Leaf fish · Leaf scorpionfish · Leaffish · Novu · Paper scorpionfish · Paperfish · Papiervis · Poisson balance · Rascasse-feuille · Sailfin leaf fish · Sailfin leaffish · Swayfish · Threespine scorpionfish · 三棘高身鮋 · 玫瑰絨鮋 · 石狗公
  • Afrikaans: Papiervis
  • Chinese: 三棘高身鮋 · 三棘高身鲉
  • Danish: Blad dragehovedfisk · Blad-dragehovedfisk
  • Divehi: Gaaviha Mas
  • Dutch: Hommelkolibrie · Taenianotus
  • English: Leaf fish · Leaf scorpionfish · Leaffish · Paper Fish · Paper scorpionfish · Paperfish · Sailfin leaf fish · Sailfin leaffish · Scorpionfish · Swayfish · Three spined scorpionfish · Three-Spined Scorpionfish · Threespine scorpionfish
  • Fijian: Kabi Lase
  • French: Poisson balance · Poisson feuille · Poisson-Feuille · Rascasse Feuille · Rascasse-feuille · Taenianotus
  • Gela: Novu
  • German: Rosenkehlelfe · Schaukelfisch
  • Italian: Scorfano
  • Japanese: Hadakahaokoze
  • Mandarin Chinese: 三棘带鲉 · 三棘帶鮋 · 三棘高身鮋 · 三棘高身鲉 · 玫瑰絨鮋 · 玫瑰绒鲉 · 石狗公
  • Spanish: Colibrí de Eloísa


The leaf scorpionfish is about 10 cm (4 in) long. Their color varies from green, red, pink, brown, ocher and yellowish to a ghostly white. The fish is almost as flat as a leaf and resembles a leaf in many other ways. The head and mouth are large. Through their eyes is a dark line. The large dorsal fin starts just behind the eyes and has 12 spines and eight to 11 soft rays.[1] The anal fin has three spines and five or six soft rays. The venom of the leaf scorpionfish is considerably weaker than that of the lionfish and stonefish. The skin often has blotches that enhance a camouflage effect. This fish has appendages around the mouth, and sometimes real algae and hydroids grow on its skin. This fish molts every 10 to 14 days, and can change colors after the molt.[2]

Venomous spines.


The leaf scorpionfish resembles a dead leaf lying in the water. To enhance this camouflage, it even makes gentle sideways movements in its pelvic area which make it resemble a drifting inert object.[1] It is an ambush predator, waiting until suitable prey, a small fish or shrimp, approaches. Then it slowly moves with its pectoral fins close to the victim. When the leaf scorpionfish is close enough, the prey is sucked in by a sudden opening of its mouth. It eats victims up to half its body length, but larger animals are completely ignored.

Solitary and usually immobile among algae or seagrass but effects hip movements resembling that of a leaf falling down from a tree. Molts twice a month with the skin breaking off first in the head region. Has the habit of mimicking a dead leaf by swaying from side to side [3]


Feeds on small crustaceans and fishes [4];; also feeds on larvae [5]

Habitat and Ecology


Inhabits reef flats, outer reef slopes, current-swept channels, and rarely on lagoon reefs.

Biome: Marine.


Name Status

Name status: accepted name.
Latest taxonomic scrutiny: 19-May-2014
Source: FishBase, Jan 2015


Taenianotus triacanthus is widespread from east African coast and the Red Sea to the tropical Indo-Pacific, north to the Galapagos Islands, the Ryukyu Islands, Hawaii, and the coast of New South Wales. This species can be found in tropical waters on coral reefs, from shallow water to a depth of 130 m.

File:Leaf Scorpionfish (Taenianotus tricanthus).jpg
Leaf scorpionfish on a sandy bottom
  • Reported here: American Samoa, Antarctica, Australia, Australia:New South Wales, Australia:Queensland, Canada, Canada:Manitoba, Chagos Is., Christmas Island, Comoros, Cook Islands, Denmark, Fiji, French Polynesia, Galapagos, Guam, India, Indonesia, Indonesia:Sulawesi, Japan, Kenya, Kiribati, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia, Mozambique, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Reunion, Ryukyu Is., Samoa, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tonga, Tuamoto Is., United States, Vanuatu, Zambia.
  • Aquatic regions: Indo-Pacific: East Africa to the Galapagos Islands, north to Ryukyu
 and Hawaiian islands, south to Australia and the Tuamoto Islands;
 Mariana and Marshall islands in Micronesia.

Map showing distribution of observations of Taenianotus triacanthus.



To explore 57 photos of Taenianotus triacanthus, click here.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Taenianotus triacanthus Lacepà¨de, 1802: Leaf scorpionfish". FishBase. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  2. "Eight interesting facts about the Leaf Scorpionfish". Retrieved 2010-04-28. 
  3. Myers, R.F. (1999). Micronesian reef fishes: a comprehensive guide to the coral reef fishes of Micronesia, 3rd revised and expanded edition. Coral Graphics, Barrigada, Guam. 330 p.
  4. Lieske, E. and R. Myers (1994). Collins Pocket Guide. Coral reef fishes. Indo-Pacific & Caribbean including the Red Sea. Haper Collins Publishers, 400 p.
  5. Cornic, A. (1987). Poissons de l'Ile Maurice. Editions de l'Océan Indien, Stanley Rose Hill, Ile Maurice. 335 p.
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Taenianotus triacanthus on Wikimedia Commons.


More Information


  • Catalog of Life Identifier: f74c407b2f2059f0bb34f9a2e64c186a
  • GBIF: TaxonID: 2334499 TaxonKey: 118220
  • ITIS: 166904
  • Namebank ID: 139648
  • SP2000 Accepted Name Code: Fis-31551
  • ZipcodeZoo CritterID: 100744


  • iAn annotated checklist of the fishes of the Chagos Archipelago, Central Indian Ocean //i Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum, 1989. [1] p. 122, p. 21.
  • iDean bibliography of fishes./i New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1971-1973. [2] p. 135, p. 300, p. 461, p. 466, p. 497, p. 520, p. 616, p. 673, p. 674, p. 681.
  • iFishery bulletin / U.S. Dept. of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service./i Washington, D.C.: The Service: [3] p. 924.
  • iFishes of Guam, Hawaii, Samoa, and Tahiti./i Honolulu, Bernice P. Bishop Museum, 1925. [4] p. 27.
  • iHawaiian fishes; a handbook of the fishes found among the islands of the central Pacific ocean, by Spencer Wilkie Tinker.. illustrated by Gordon S. C. Chun and Y. Oda./i Honolulu, Hawaii, Tongg publishing company, 1944. [5] p. 272, p. 402.
  • iOceanus./i Woods Hole, Mass., Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution [6] p. 29, p. 31.
  • iProceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, 4th series./i San Francisco, California Academy of Sciences. [7] p. 265, p. 266, p. 270, p. 276, p. 285, p. 286, p. 307, p. 308, p. 310, p. 331.
  • iProceedings of the United States National Museum./i Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, [etc.] [8] p. 21.
  • iReport on the progress and condition of the United States National Museum./i Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1907-1951. [9] p. 46.
  • iThe Natural history of Enewetak Atoll / edited by Dennis M. Devaney.. [et al.]; prepared by Office of Scientific and Technical Information, U.S. Department of Energy./i Oak Ridge, Tenn.: U.S. Dept. of Energy, Office of Energy Research, Office of Health and Environmental Research, Ecological Research Division, c1987. [10] p. 296.
  • iThe fishes of Samoa. Description of the species found in the Archipelago, with a provisional check-list of the fishes of Oceania. [By David Starr Jordan and Alvin Seale]../i 1906 Washington, Government print off., 1906. [11] p. 378.
  • iThe fishes of the Indo-Australian Archipelago.. by Dr. Max Weber.. and Dr. L.F. de Beaufort./i Leiden, E.J. Brill, Ltd., 1911- [12] p. 383.


  • Brands, S.J. (comp.) 1989-present. The Taxonomicon. Universal Taxonomic Services, Zwaag, The Netherlands. Accessed January 15, 2012.
  • FishBase. Release date: January 5, 2010
  • Global Biodiversity Information Facility. Accessed March 02, 2008. http://www.gbif.org Mediated distribution data from 9 providers.
  • Ruggiero M., Gordon D., Bailly N., Kirk P., Nicolson D. (2011). The Catalogue of Life Taxonomic Classification, Edition 2, Part A. In: Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2011 Annual Checklist (Bisby F.A., Roskov Y.R., Orrell T.M., Nicolson D., Paglinawan L.E., Bailly N., Kirk P.M., Bourgoin T., Baillargeon G., Ouvrard D., eds). DVD; Species 2000: Reading, UK.
  • Woodland, David J. (from FishBase).

Page Notes

  • URL: http://ZipcodeZoo.com/index.php/Taenianotus_triacanthus
  • Primary Sources: Global Biodiversity Information Facility · the Taxonomicon · The Catalogue of Life, 3rd January 2011 · Wikimedia Commons · Wikipedia · Wikispecies · ZipcodeZoo.com.
  • Map Data Sources: Accessed through GBIF Data Portal March 02, 2008:Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum: Bishop Museum Natural History Specimen Data · FishBase: FishBase DiGIR Provider - Philippine Server · Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University: Bishop Museum Data (OBIS distribution) (USOBIS) · Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University: iziko South African Museum - Fish Collection · Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University: South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity - Fish Collection (AfrOBIS) · Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History: Vertebrate specimens · Museum national d'histoire naturelle: Ichtyologie · National Chemical Laboratory: IndOBIS, Indian Ocean Node of OBIS · OZCAM (Online Zoological Collections of Australian Museums) Provider: Online Zoological Collections of Australian Museums · Royal Ontario Museum: Fish specimens · Senckenberg: Collection Pisces ·