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Diving with Waspfishes

Koh Lanta Marine Life | Tetrarogidae
RazorfishesScorpionfish & Lionfish

Waspfish are a genus of 5 species of small fish related to the scorpionfishes, and as their name suggests they are often venomous, having poison glands on their spines. We don't often spot waspfish on Koh Lanta diving trips.

Similar to stonefish, this genus have razor sharp, mobile bone in their cheeks, which can be quickly extended like a switch-blade and is known as a 'lachrymal saber'.

The head actually has many ridges and spines, however these are more blunt than the scorpionfish and stonefish relatives.

Usually well camouflaged, these ambush predators seek safe haven hiding spots on the seabed.

Waspfish are found in the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean.

1 species found on this page.

Cockatoo Waspfish

(Ablabys taenianotus)

Cockatoo waspfish are strongly compressed (flat) fish growing up to 15 cm in length. The dorsal fin starts on top of the head, in front of the eyes and continues to the tail fin. The dorsal fin spines are venomous, and when spread, the dorsal fin resembles the crest on a cockatoo.

Cockatoo Waspfish (Ablabys taenianotus)

Ablabys taenianotus @ Koh Haa

This species normally lives on the seabed and drifts with the currents, sometimes rocking back and forth with the surge. This drifting behaviour mimics a dead leaf and allows the waspfish to ambush its prey, typically small crustaceans.

Cockatoo Waspfish (Ablabys taenianotus)

Cockatoo Waspfish drifting @ Koh Haa

Cockatoo waspfish use their pectoral fins for movement on the sea bed, and the color varies from cream to dark brown, with irregular spots, or black.

Koh Lanta Diving with Waspfishes

If you'd love a chance to spot Waspfishes on one of our daily Koh Lanta diving trips then send us an email to info@diveandrelax.com.

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