Rhinopias, a member of the Scorpionfish family, are perhaps the ultimate underwater critter. Famed for their striking colours and body shape, their rarity adds to their legend. A firm favourite of underwater photographers and videographers, it is one of the reasons that divers come to Ambon. The come in three flavours, Paddleflap, Weedy and Lacey. Ambon has both the Paddleflap and Weedy.
Found anywhere from 2m to 30m+ in depth. Even though their vibrant colours would seem to suggest otherwise, Rhinopias utilize camouflage to blend into their surroundings. Their fronds and frills, together with their unique body shape, help them to disappear in the broken algae-strewn rubble they like to inhabit. Ambon is fortunate to have a stable population of these amazing creatures.
They do not move around very much (making them a great photography subject) and rely on their camouflage to lay in wait for prey to get close, then make a quick strike. Like Frogfish and other Scorpionfish if you are lucky you get to see them ‘yawn’, stretching their mouths wide open.
I was very lucky to find a very ‘tired’ Paddleflap Rhinopias and capture this fascinating moment.
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