05 Oct '11, 4pm
An unassuming and shy but POTENT relative of the Rhinopias in Singapore waters
It looks unassuming, but this is one potent fish! I almost missed this squat and grumpy-looking Hollow-cheeked stonefish as it blended seamlessly with its silty, algae-encrusted surroundings, but as I swam over it, I managed to catch it at just the right angle to pick out the shape of its upturned mouth and spiny dorsal fins, which gave away its position. Some divers have likened this fish to its cousin the rhinopias . They look similar and are sometimes classified in the same family (Scorpaenidae) but there have been no records of rhinopias in local waters. Stonefish are ambush predators. They don’t actively hunt their prey. Instead, they lie motionless, relying on their camouflage to remain undetected. When a suitable snack comes close enough, they suck it into their huge mouths, or grab it with a sudden lunge of incredible speed. They generally eat fishes and crustacean...