Pontinus rathbuni

Common Name

Highfin Scorpionfish

Year Described

Goode & Bean, 1896


Dorsal Fin: XII, 9.5
Anal Fin: III, 5
Pectoral Fin: 16-18 (usually 17)
Pelvic Fin: I, 5
Scale rows above lateral line: 45

Body deep (deepest at gill opening) with a huge head. Snout about equal to eye diameter. Supraorbital cirrus with a expanded bifurcation at the tip. Dorsal profile convex. Ventral profile flattened. Eye and mouth large. Head with multiple strong ridges and short spines. Lacrimal bone with a pair of downward-pointed spines (point more posteriorly) and one small lateral spine. A strong cheek ridge is present (with 3 spines). Preopercle with a few strong spines (second spine small or missing). Hypohyals without an extended ventral process. Body covered in ctenoid scales. Lateral line complete. Spiny dorsal fin quite high, with flaps on membranes between each spine. Soft dorsal fin is rounded posteriorly. Pectoral fin fanlike, with the middle rays being the longest. Pectoral rays all unbranched. Caudal fin truncate.


Body pale pink with darker pink mottling or irregular body bars. Soft dorsal, anal, pectoral, and caudal fins with pink spots along finrays. Eyes yellow with pink markings.


Maximum size to 19.7cm SL.


Bottom dwelling on hard bottoms from 73-384m.


Scattered records from North Carolina to the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Also continental from Belize to off Suriname.


Poss, S.G. 2002. Scorpaenidae. In: FAO Species Identification Guide to Fishes of the Western Atlantic. (ed. Carpenter K), pp. 1232-1265. UN FAO Publishers, Rome.

Ross, S.W. and A.M. Quattrini. 2009. Deep-sea reef fish assemblage patterns on the Blake Plateau (Western North Atlantic Ocean). Marine Ecology 30: 74-92.