DEVIL SCORPIONFISH are quite a common species on Red Sea reefs. They are not always easily spotted, as they are well camouflaged and sit motionless waiting for an unsuspecting fish to come within range.
It is not often that we see two together, so we have little idea how two fish will react to each other when their paths cross.
On a dive at Gabr el Bint near Dahab, I spotted a scorpionfish on some rubble, and when I got close I realised that there were in fact two of them – and one had the other by its pectoral fin.
The two fish were fighting, probably in a territorial battle. I stayed with them for more than 15 minutes. They would fight, one would get a grip on the other, then that one would wriggle free and the battle would resume.
At one point one had the others head in its mouth – and had apparently won the battle – but not for long, because each time the held fish would summon some extra reserves of energy and break free to fight back.
Eventually one of the scorpionfish broke free and swam away – presumably deciding that it was better to escape to fight another day.