One of the most sought-after fish by underwater photographers and videographers is the Rhinopias, a genus of scorpionfishes that are known for their striking appearance and rarity. These fish have a unique body shape, coloration, and pattern that make them stand out from their surroundings. They are often referred to as the ‘Lamborghini’ of the sea, because they are expensive, hard to find, and beautiful to look at.
Recently, I had the pleasure of observing a Rhinopias off the coast of Anilao in the Philippines. Anilao is a popular diving destination that boasts a rich biodiversity of marine life, especially macro creatures. It is one of the few places in the world where you have a chance to see a Rhinopias in its natural habitat.
Rhinopias belong to the family Scorpaenidae, which includes lionfishes, stonefishes, and other venomous fish. They have 12 spines in their dorsal fins and 3 spines in their anal fins, which they use for defense. They also have pectoral fins with thickened lower rays that help them to walk or perch on the bottom. Their soft fin rays are branched, giving them a frilly or weedy appearance.
There are six recognized species of Rhinopias, each with its own distinctive features and distribution.