Scorpionfish Care Guide

Scorpionfish Careguide:

Information and Tips for Successful Captive Care and Home Husbandry.

Greg Hix & Renee Coles-Hix

Click on the titles to jump to that particular topic.

General Description. Weaning Techniques.
Scorpionfish Anatomy and Identifying Characteristics. Housing your Scorpionfish.
Cuticle Molting. What to do if you are Stung.
Let’s Meet the Scorpionfish! Identification of Venomous Spines.
Diet. Tips for Staying Safe.

You put your hand in THAT tank??!!” is a common response we hear when folks find out that we keep scorpionfish. However, it’s no surprise when one considers the tales of death, woe, and aggressiveness that are often associated with this mild-mannered and fascinating group of fishes. It seems unfair that scorpionfish tend to get lumped into the aggressive category simply because they will eat anything that fits into their rather large mouths, or because they are venomous. To be honest, these fish are more likely to be the victims of bullying rather than the bullies.

While the family Scorpaenidae is a rather large group of fishes containing approximately 45 genera and 388 species, this article will focus mainly on species generally available to the aquarium trade, and will exclude subfamily Pteroinae (lionfishes), as they are the subjects of their own dedicated article “Lionfish Care Guide: information and tips for successful captive care and home husbandry”.

General Description and Habitat:
scorpionfish-care-guide-frondosaWhile the identification of species can sometimes be tricky, scorpionfish do share some common morphological traits which include large heads, mouths, and eels, as well as a bony ridge running from the eye across the cheek (known as the suborbital stay). Non-venomous spines are present on the opercula and head, and of course, there are the stiff fin spines which deliver the painful punch of the scorpionfish’s venom. The toxicity of this venom varies from family to family, with the stonefish being the most toxic.

Scorpionfish are represented in virtually every ocean of the world, and while most occur on the temperate reefs, there are a number of tropical species as well. Scorps can be found living on both hard and soft substrates, often in caves, crevices or under overhangs. Many of the species found on softer substrates have high-set eyes and often burrow into the substrate to lie in wait for a passing meal. In fact, most scorpionfish blend so well with their environment, they are often overlooked by divers and aquarists alike. I have often had guests in my home peer into some of my aquariums and ask where the fish are, even if the fish are sitting “front and center”!

Scorpionfish Anatomy:


This diagram depicts all of the key anatomical landmarks spoke of throughout this guide.

Cuticle Molting:

You can see this Ambon is actively shedding on its back.

You can see this P. amboinensis is actively shedding on its back.

An interesting trait shared by many Scorpaenids is the ability to shed their cuticle. The cuticle is a thin, diaphanous outer skin that protects these sedentary fish. Contrary to what many believe, this is not the fish’s mucous layer, nor is it the fish expelling. Scorpionfish go through periods of inactivity waiting for their evening hunt or sitting around while a meal is digested. During these sedentary periods, various algae, hydroids, ectoparasites and bacteria settle out of the water column and attach themselves to the scorpionfish’s skin. To rid themselves of these encrusting critters, they release the skin, increasing their disease resistance.

The frequency of this molt varies from species to species, and in some genera such as Rhinopias, it can be as often as weekly. Prior to molting, the fish may become noticeably dull, and even have a slight cloudiness to their eyes, as the cuticle covers their entire body. You may also see the fish gilling and contorting its face in an effort to loosen the old cuticle. Finally, most fish give a few darts around the tank, and the old cuticle floats away like a milky ghost. Sometimes a fish may go off its feed while preparing to molt, so keep that in mind should you face an anorexic event.

A sick/infested fish will overshed its cuticle in an effort to stay clear of parasites.  Also, if there is an irritant in the water, such as ammonia, they can shed frequently enough that their skin appears ‘dry”.  If you notice a change in their shedding behavior, check the water and check the fish.

Let’s Meet Some Scorpionfish:
Scorpaenodes caribbaeus (Reef Scorpionfish)

scorpionfish-care-guide-caribbaeusAverage Size:
 4” TL (~ 10 cm)
Natural Habitat: Occurs in association with reefs, drop-offs, and rocky caves
Care Level: easy
Minimum Tank Size: 30 g (~ 114 l)

Rather common on the reefs, but not very common in the trade, these fish are perfect for a smaller setup.   These fish are a bit cryptic at first, and even after becoming established, are often found upside down in caves and overhangs, or stands of macro algae.  Our specimen definitely makes its presence known when it sees us in front of the tank, hoping for a tasty morsel.  This fish can be recognized by its spotted fins, as well as a mask of spots across its eyes, and a line of spots on the caudal peduncle.  Our specimen was originally white overall, with a dark diagonal band across its body, but the white background is now a nice pastel salmon color.  This fish was “medium” difficulty in terms of weaning, and is now a solid stick feeder, although it would suffer from competition.

Scorpaena brasiliensis (Red Barbfish)


Average Size: 7 – 8″ TL (~ 18 – 20 cm)
Natural Habitat: Occurs on and around reefs in the Indo-Pacific
Care Level: Easy
Minimum Tank Size: 50 g (~ 189 l)

Although most scorps can be just about any color based on their habitat, this species is generally mottled shades of reds and browns with white highlights, and are quite handsome fish. S. brasiliensis is probably the most common scorpionfish available to the hobbyist, and certainly one of the easiest to care for. It is very hardy and easily fed, as most specimens accept dead food readily, both from a feeding stick or the water column. Although many scorpionfish are cryptic or simply sit there looking like a rock, this species is quite personable and will soon recognize its keeper, looking for a handout.

Scorpaenodes littoralis (Cheekspot Scorpionfish)

scorpionfish-care-guide-littoralisAverage Size:
 4” TL (~ 10 cm)
Natural Habitat: Occurs in association with reefs, drop-offs, and rocky caves
Care Level: Easy
Minimum Tank Size: 30 g (~ 114 l)

A very pretty fish, they are typically mottled shades of red, with a dark cheekspot at the lower edge of the opercula as well as light bars on its lips and chin. This fish is fond of caves and overhangs, and you will often find it upside down on the ceilings of these areas as well as upside down in lush growths of macroalgae. They are bold, yet can be cryptic until they get adjusted. This is one of the quickest scorps we keep, and our specimen zips out and strikes its food almost before you realize it is coming.

Sebastapistes strongia (Barchin Scorpionfish)scorpionfish-care-guide-strongia

Average Size: 4” TL (~ 10 cm)
Natural Habitat: Occurs in association with reefs, drop-offs, and rocky caves
Care Level: Easy
Minimum Tank Size: 20 g (~ 76 l)

A nocturnal fish, this little scorp is a bit more reclusive, preferring to lie partially buried in the substrate during the day, becoming more active under dim lighting. Its natural diet is small fish and shrimp, and these should be offered at first, although this fish also tends to train fairly well to frozen fare. Their small size makes them perfect for the aggressive smaller aquarium, and there should be a suitable substrate (no larger than #3 grade aragonite) and a few pieces of rubble rock to hide amongst in open areas of the aquarium. This species is not very common in the aquarium trade, but is occasionally available.

Sebastapistes cyanostigma (Yellow-spotted Scorpionfish)

scorpionfish-care-guide-cyanostigmaAverage Size:
 3” TL (~ 8 cm)
Natural Habitat: Inhabits lagoon and seaward reefs slopes, typically found in caves and overhangs by day
Care Level: Moderate
Minimum Tank Size: 20 g (~ 76 l)

These are certainly one of the gems in terms of appearance, sporting a red to deep pink body and bright yellow spots. Unfortunately, it can also be a bit on the reclusive side, often preferring to take up residence in live SPS colonies or SPS skeletons, although they may also feel comfortable with a rubble-strewn substrate. Our specimen is not overly shy and took readily to stick feeding. These diminutive scorps are best started on live ghost shrimp to get them to feed initially (it would not take guppies unless they swam down in front of it). Not super common, but well worth keeping if you can find one.

Taenianotus tricanthus (Leaf Scorpionfish)scorpionfish-care-guide-triacanthus

Average Size: 4” TL (~ 10 cm)
Natural Habitat: Reef-associated, often found in association with sponges or on muddy bottoms
Care Level: Range to about 60 m, usually 40+ m. (~ 131 – 197 ft)
Minimum Tank Size: 20 g (~ 76 l)


Do you haz cheeseburger?

These little fish are quite comical in their behavior. Being true to their name, they mimic dead leaves swaying in the current, but the fun doesn’t end there. Rather than swim, these cute little scorps move from place to place by crutching
or hopping along the substrate. In fact, they soon recognize their keepers and will come hopping over to beg for a handout. Their bodies are extremely laterally compressed, with a high, sail-shaped dorsal fin. They come in a variety of colors, yellow, brown, red, or mottled. The deep red specimens are striking, but unfortunately, almost always fade to a pinkish cream color in captivity. Roll over the picture to the right of the red leaf to see how they can change colour quickly when introduced to your tank. They do well in pairs and trios and can make for a nice little display. About the only thing I can say that some consider negative is the fact that they can be difficult to wean onto dead food items, so be prepared to offer gut-loaded ghost shrimp for the life of the fish. That being said, these fish do seem to be easily trained to take food from a small net. How many fish have you seen hurry INTO a net?

Pteroidichtys amboinensis (Ambon Scorpionfish)

scorpionfish-care-guide-amboinensisAverage Size:
 3 -4” TL (~ 8 – 10 cm)
Natural Habitat: Occurs on coral heads, reef flats and lagoons, typically found within caves and crevices
Care Level: Moderate
Minimum Tank Size: 10 g (~ 38 l)

A rare gem, indeed, but fabulous little fish. Their appearance can be variable, depending on their habitat. Some appear shaggy, with almost hairlike dermal appendages covering their bodies, while others are almost smooth. Some have antler-like supraorbital appendages that remind you of reindeer, while others do not. This fish is actually very similar in shape to fish from genus Rhinopias but in a smaller package. They are mild-mannered and entertaining fish that will soon know who the “food god” is and will come crutching over on their lacy pectorals, ready for a meal. On the subject of food, these fish do not wean easily to frozen and may need to be offered live ghost shrimp and guppies for life. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, these fish typically don’t survive long in captivity, and a specimen that seems to be thriving and is eating well will often simply be found dead after a few months. Hopefully, someday, whatever is missing in their care will be understood, and they will become easier to keep.

Scorpaenopsis macrochir (Humpback Scorpionfish)scorpionfish-care-guide-macrochir

Maximum Size: 3.5” TL (~ 9 cm)
Natural Habitat: Found on muddy substrates, from well-protected shallow estuaries to quiet, deep offshore reefs
Care Level: Easy
Minimum Tank Size: 20 g (~ 76 l)

This little scorpionfish may have a large mouth, but it’s smaller size makes it a compatible tankmate for many scorpionfish themed tanks. These guys are fairly easy to train to eat frozen food and will delight with its quirky hopping movements. They don’t bother with other fish, unless they are “eatin’ size”, which of course is true of this whole genre.

Its main pitfall is its likeness to the Scorpaenopsis diabolus which can be very difficult to visually tell apart for the average aquarist. Some believe you can tell the difference by a spot found within the mouth, but this has proved to be unreliable at best. IDing them can be rather difficult, as they tend to hunker down and conceal the easiest attribute they have to tell the difference… the pattern/color found on the back of their pectoral fin. You may have to agitate this specimen to get them to reveal the tale tail colors, in what is known as a “flash”. Flashing is the act of showing the brightly colored fins in hopes of warning potential prey of their venomous nature. The fin seen to the left in the below picture is that of a S. macrochir. They lack the several large spots that are easily visible towards the edge of the fin at the top. The macrochir does not have these spots. The coloring is also different in that most of the fin of the macrochir is yellow, with a top band of black and orange/red towards the edge. There’s also a coloring of a muddled green on the very edge.


The back surface of the pectoral fin of an S. macrochir (left) and S. diabolus (right).

Does it really make a difference if you end of purchasing an S. diabolus over an S. macroschir? Yes, yes it does. The macrochir is about 4″ and a potential tankmate for something as small a dwarf lionfish, where a diabolus makes a great tankmate for something as big as a volitans.

Rhinopias frondosa (Weedy Scorpionfish)

scorpionfish-care-guide-frondosa-2Average Size: 6 – 7” TL (~ 15 – 18 cm)
Natural Habitat: Occurs in association with reefs, drop-offs, and rocky caves
Care Level: Easy
Minimum Tank Size: 50 g (~ 189 l)

This fish is truly one of the holy grails of the scorpionfish collector.  Their coloration pattern and often wild-looking dermal flaps and appendages truly make this fish an eye-popper.  This fish’s appearance is dependent upon where it was collected.  Those that are found in areas of high coralline or other algal growth are often adorned with many more dermal flaps than those specimens collected on open substrates.  Two main characteristics identify this species, one of which is an incised dorsal fin, and the other being the presence of sub-ocular appendages just below and between the eyes.  Coloration and markings can be variable, but the weedy scorpionfish is typically marked with complex patterns of ocelli and have a lacy appearance to their pectoral fins.  The body is extremely laterally compressed, and this fish will often sway in the current mimicking a clump of algae.

R. frondosa gets along well with most fish, and make excellent tankmates for larger fish in most settings.  It should be given plenty of open space, as it rarely swims, preferring to hop and crutch along on its lacy pectorals.  It is a fairly sedentary fish, but when the fish is hungry, it tends to be a bit more active, and will indeed pray to the food god.

Rhinopias eschmeyeri (Leafy Scorpionfish)scorpionfish-care-guide-eschmeyeri

Average Size: 7 – 8” TL (~ 18 – 20 cm)
Natural Habitat: Usually found on open reef flats, in sheltered coastal bays and fine sand or muddy habitats.
Care Level: Easy
Minimum Tank Size: 50 g (~ 189 l)

This fish,  like the other rhinos, have earned its label of being extraordinary.  Their coloration can range from bright yellow to purple, and everything in between. Two main characteristics identify this species, one of which is their non-incised dorsal fin, and the other being a lack of the sub-ocular appendages just below and between the eyes, which are present in R. frondosa.  Their pectoral fins are not as “lacy” in appearance as those of R. frondosa, and they lack also the wild markings of the weedy scorpionfish, being more solid in color.  The body is extremely laterally compressed, and this fish will often sway in the current mimicking a clump of algae.  We would like to mention that this species seems to be very prone to changing color in captivity.  Our specimen went from bright yellow to “tequila sunrise” to purple, and finally a pinkish color (it was in a setup with lots of coralline algae).

R. eschmeyeri gets along well with most fish, and make excellent tankmates for larger fish in most settings.  It should be given plenty of open space, as it rarely swims, preferring to hop and crutch along on its lacy pectorals.  It is a fairly sedentary fish, but when the fish is hungry, it tends to be a bit more active, and will indeed pray to the food god.

Please Don’t Feed Me Goldfish!:

scorpionfish-care-guide-goldfishNow that we have your attention, let’s discuss feeding your lions.  First of all, let’s talk about live feeder fish.  The flesh of freshwater fish does not contain the proper fatty acids required to keep saltwater predators healthy.  This is especially true of members of the carp family, such as goldfish, koi, and rosy reds.  Another big problem is that these fish also contain high concentrations of the enzyme Thiaminase, which inhibits the uptake of Thiamine.  An extended diet of freshwater feeders usually results in poor growth rate, disorders of the nervous system, clamped fins, cessation of feeding, and you guessed it, an early death.

Another food to avoid is krill, frozen or freeze-dried.  Krill has been linked to lockjaw in many predatory species, and although it is typically well-received by most fish, it is not recommended.  In fact, some people in the hobby refer to freeze-dried krill as fish crack since some fish will decide they will only eat this food and nothing else once it has been offered a few times.

About now is where you might be wondering “OK, smart guy, just what DO I feed my fish?” so let’s find out:

Live Foods:

While we don’t recommend a steady diet of live food, it may be necessary to feed newly acquired specimens live fare initially to get them eating, or in some cases, where certain fish are difficult, or simply refuse to be weaned onto dead foods, this may be their diet for life.

Ghost or grass shrimp (fresh or saltwater) are both excellent foods, especially since they can be enriched (gut-loaded) with nutritious goodies like high quality flake food, spirulina, beta glucan, etc. simply by feeding your feeders a last supper or two of nutrition-packed goodies.


The ghost shrimp are visibly enriched with Spirulina and Astaxanthin.

Livebearers, such as guppies, mollies, or platies are also good choices.  These fish can also be enriched prior to feeding them out.  You may want to go the extra mile and convert them to brackish or full saltwater if this will be a long-term feeding option.

Appropriately-sized damsels make great feeders, and can sometimes be ordered in lots at a discount at some LFS or e-tailers.  We usually give these fish a 20-minute freshwater dip prior to feeding them out to decrease the risk of introducing parasites.

Live saltwater minnows or anchovies also make tasty treats, so if you have access to them, and can find them of appropriate size, they are a good alternative if live foods are necessary. Be careful of collecting them off of wharfs or piers, as the water in these areas is often tainted with pollutants.

We would like to note that smaller specimens will also hunt down live pods with great relish and will decimate a tank’s population in fairly short order.

Fresh/frozen foods:

scorpionfish-care-guide-salmonSilversides are an excellent food since they are easily stuffed with pelletized food, powders such as spirulina, vitamins (C, B6, B12) or beta glucan, etc.  One can also find many other frozen foods in the freezer at the local fish store (LFS), however, I find that a wider variety of fresher, high quality seafood is available at the grocery store or local fish market.  Surprisingly, when purchased in small amounts, it is actually less expensive to feed your lions people-food rather than fish food.  Some of the foods we’ve had good success with are red snapper, salmon, tuna, cod, shrimp (uncooked, shell-on), lobster, scallops, clams, and squid.  Try what’s on sale, try different foods to see what your fish find tasty.  These foods can be cut up into bite-sized chunks, placed into bags and frozen for later use.  If you arrange individual feeding bags, it is easy for a fish sitter to feed the fish should you be out of town for more than a few days for some reason.

Smaller specimens will also take mysis (we use Hikari and Piscene Energetics), and even brine shrimp (we use Hikari Brine Shrimp Plus).  With the exception of one of our stingfish which eats PE mysis from a pile on the substrate, these foods are simply thawed, rinsed, and placed into the water column.

We’re often asked “how large should the chunks be?”, and although it depends on the size and species of the fish and its mouth size, if you stay right around the size of the fish’s eye or just a tad larger, you’ll never be wrong.  If your fish happens to get a larger chunk than you had planned and seems to be choking, what the fish is actually doing is repositioning and softening the food item prior to swallowing.  If this happens a lot, try giving the fish smaller chunks.

For a detailed article regarding weaning techniques, be sure to read  Tools of the Trade: Feeding Techniques.

Feeding Frequency:

Due to their sedentary nature and slow metabolism, adult lionfish should only be fed twice or three times a week.  Feed them until you see a slight bulge in their bellies, once you see this, you will understand my meaning.  We do, however, feed our juvenile specimens a bit more often since much of their caloric intake is used for growing.  A good feeding schedule for us has been to feed the adults Monday-Wednesday-Friday.  Our juvies typically get a bit of food each day between normal feedings.

Given the chance, many lions will overeat, sometimes to the point of regurgitation, which obviously, should not be encouraged.  In a short time, you will get a feel for how many food items of appropriate size make up a meal for your fish.

Overfeeding your fish on a long term basis will likely shorten its life due to hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver degeneration).  Additionally, owing to these fishes’ slow metabolism, large food items can sometimes begin to decompose in a lionfish’s digestive tract before it can be digested, resulting in bloating and death.  Don’t worry if this paragraph seems scary, it’s simply helpful to know.

Housing Your Scorpionfish:

Due to their sedentary nature, lionfish can be kept in tanks from 30 gallons on up, depending on species.  While it is always best to research the aquascaping requirements of a given species, a tank with a good amount of surface area as well as height is a good choice.  Bottom dwellers will appreciate long or wide tanks as they do little, if any, swimming.  Substrate is rather important in a scorp versus one meant solely for lionfish, due to their demersal nature and we have had good success with #1 or #3 grade aragonite as a substrate material.  Live rock caves are appreciated by most scorps, as well as strands of macroalgae, which also aid in water quality via nutrient export.  A bit of rubble here and there on the substrate will complete the setting.

Biofiltration should be robust, no matter what type of equipment you use, as lions tend to produce a pretty fair amount of waste.  Also, many of the foods they eat are a bit oily, so we recommend a good skimmer and surface turbulence.  Sump-based systems will boost water volume and are our favorite option.  Again, lots of live rock and macroalgae are your friends.

Generally speaking, scorpionfish are not very fussy about their lighting requirements.  For the most part, they are crepuscular (dawn/dusk) predators, so their lighting can be simple normal output (NO) fluorescents, however, they are just as happy under brighter lighting, provided they have a dimmer spot to shelter in if they so desire.  So, the rule of thumb is to light their tank with lighting suitable for their tankmates.  Whatever type of lighting you use, a dawn/dusk photoperiod using actinic and daylight lamps would be a perfect lighting scheme.

Scorpionfish make excellent reef candidates, as they have no interest in coral, and will not harm them. These fish can be more appropriately coined “reef limiting”  in that they will indeed eat ornamental shrimp, crabs, and any fish that will fit into their often cavernous mouths.

One final word of caution: believe it or not, scorpionfish can, and will jump from the aquarium. To prevent your pet from becoming scorpionfish jerky, you’ll want to cover the tank with plastic eggcrate, netting, glass, etc.

”The Big Question”…What Do I Do If I’m Stung?

Disclaimer: This treatment guideline is not meant to replace appropriate professional medical treatment when available. Its focus is to help provide First Aid as a first response before seeking medical treatment when necessary. If you utilize any information provided in this document, you do so at your own risk and you specifically waive any right to make a claim against the authors of this guideline for the results or consequences of any attempt to use, adopt, adapt or modify the information presented in this document.

You’ve probably been wondering this in the back of your mind ever since you decided to read this article, haven’t you?  We could go into the mechanics of how the venom is injected, however, this is really more of a lionfish primer, and we’d hate to have you nodding off.  That being said, the absolute best advice we can offer is “DON’T GET STUNG!”  However, accidents do happen, and what can we say?  It’s going to hurt… just how much depends on which species you take the hit from, its size, how much venom is injected, and the time the spine is embedded in your skin.


Injuries inflicted by a P. volitans to Reef Central member +++TheZombie+++. Within 48 hours hours envenomation (left) and 5 days (right).

First aid for a scorpionfish sting is the immersion of the affected area in hot water (114°F) for 20 up to 90 minutes, or until the pain subsides, in order to inactivate the thermolabile components of the venom. The reason for applying heat to the wound is because scorpionfish venom is composed of heat labile proteins, and the heat actually denatures the venom. Please, don’t use scalding-hot water, as the resulting burn will likely do more damage than the venom. To ensure the proper temperature have a cooking thermometer on hand.

Don’t worry, your life really isn’t in danger from the effects of the venom. That being said, you need to guard against secondary infection of the wound as well as make certain that there are no pieces of the spine left in the wound, which can cause infection. A tetanus booster is recommended if it is past due. To that end, you may want to seek professional medical assistance, just in case.

Know what spines are venomous and which are not? Avoid anything shown in red!

Know what spines are venomous and which are not? Avoid anything shown in red!

Fortunately, in over 20 years of keeping venomous fish, neither of us has ever been stung (knock on wood).  Here are some tips for working in your Scorpion Sanctuary.

  1. Always respect the fish, and know where they are at all times when working on the tank.  If you happen to be performing a chore that requires a lot of your concentration, you may want to enlist the aid of a spotter to let you know if the fish is nearby (this is a perfect job for young helpers).
  2. Never make the fish feel threatened or cornered.  Perform your work deliberately and in a non-threatening manner.  Get to know your fish, and let it get to know you.  Lionfish are pretty intelligent and will become accustomed to you working in their box of water.
  3. Know the warning signs that a scorpion has gone into a defensive posture.  They will typically erect their dorsal spines and assume a head-down position, thus bringing their daggers to bear in the direction of the perceived threat.

Concluding Remarks:

Although marine aquarists have been keeping scorpionfish and their kin for quite awhile, it is our hope that this article has piqued your interest in them. They are interactive, peaceful, hardy and disease-resistant fish, each with their own distinct personality, and they are certainly one of the most off-beat and unique group of fish you are likely to encounter. It has been a pleasure sharing our passion for them and giving you a window to their care and habits, as well as other useful information and tips based on practical experience for keeping them successfully. Happy scorp-keeping, and remember: “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that sting!

* All photos/illustrations/movies/ are the property of Lionfish Lair © unless otherwise stated in the caption below each individual picture/media.


Auerbach PS. Marine Envenomations. N Eng J Med. 1991; 325:486-493.

Kizer KW. McKinney HE, Auerbach PS. Scorpaenidae Envenomation: A Five-Year Poison
Center Experience.
JAMA 1985; 253: 807-810.

Marini, Frank C., Ph.D. 2010.  Lionfishes and Other Scorpionfishes

Michael, Scott W. 1998.  Reef Fishes, Vol. 1 (pp. 453-489)

Vetrano, SJ, Lebowitz, JB, Marcus, S., Lionfish Envenomation. Journal of Emercencey Medicine. 2002, Nov 23(4): 379-82

Online Sources:
Fish Base

Marini, Frank, Ph.D. The Lionfish Info Sheet: Captive Care and Home Husbandry

Fatheree, James W., M.Sc.  Lionfish Envenomations and the Aquarist

Gallagher, Scott A., MD, FACEF; Adler, Jonathon, MD. Lionfish and Scorpionfish. 2011, May 12.