The Rhinopias are without question one of the most highly prized finds in Muck and Macro Diving. They are the most beautiful members of the Scorpionfish Family, have a good size for photography and … they are pretty rare.
In Lembeh Strait you can find two different types of Rhinopias: The Paddleflap Rhinopias (rhinopias eschmeyeri) and the Weedy Scorpionfish (rhinopias frondosa). The Paddlepflap is more uniformly coloured and has a smoother skin with bigger, flat skin flaps whereas the Weedy Rhinopias has often a pattern of irregular spots (sometimes with outlines) and has branched, “weedy” skin flaps.
Both grow to about 20cm in size and therefore also make very good subjects for close focus wide angle photography. They come in various colours including Red, Pink, Yellow, Lavender, Purple, Orange, White and Brown. Their habitat includes coral rubble, soft coral rubble and sandy patches. In Lembeh they usually prefer areas with slighltly more current, stay at deeper depth until around 20 meters (even though they can be found shallower at times) and seem to like areas with with little wrasses (preferrably flasher wrasses) and small cardinal fishes on which they feed. Bigger individuals are usually more stationary than smaller ones and they can be found in couples at times. They mate in the evening / early night.
For shooting Rhinopias you should choose 60mm or wider on APS-C or 100mm or wider on Fullframe – anything goes until Fisheye 😉
Lembeh Dive-Sites with Rhinopias Sightings: Aer Prang 1-3, Makawide 1&2, Pantai Parigi 1&2, Tanjung Kubur, Angel’s Window, Nudi Falls, Critter Hunt and some more .