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In resembling an algae-encrusted rock, the Papuan Scorpionfish is a master of disguise. Camouflaged by an array of frilly, ornate appendages and filamentous outgrowths, they disappear amid the coral rubble and sand on which they rest. Described as puzzling in appearance, dangerous to touch, and murder on their prey, these fringed and mottled predators rely on deception, stealth and lightning-quick reflexes to capture a passing meal. In a split second, the hapless victim is sucked into the scorpionfish's cavernous mouth. In between such brief, explosive activity, scorpionfish return to their quiet disguise as a colorful yet indistinguishable marine growth on a coral reef. Divers who venture too close will quickly learn why they are called scorpionfish: armed with venomous erectile spines, they can quickly send a person to the hospital. Papua scorpionfish, New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

VAN060.tif

In resembling an algae-encrusted rock, the Papuan Scorpionfish is a master of disguise. Camouflaged by an array of frilly, ornate appendages and filamentous outgrowths, they disappear amid the coral rubble and sand on which they rest. Described as puzzling in appearance, dangerous to touch, and murder on their prey, these fringed and mottled predators rely on deception, stealth and lightning-quick reflexes to capture a passing meal. In a split second, the hapless victim is sucked into the...
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