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111. Inimicus (aposematism) (Inimicus filamentosus)


The Inimicus Combines Camouflage with Aposematism.

Camouflage is the use of colouration and/or texture to make animals hard to see or to make them look like something else, while aposematism is advertising using bright colours (such as red, orange, and yellow in combination with white and/or black, and high-contrast patterns such as stripes and dots) to signal to potential predators that the animal is toxic, distasteful, or dangerous.

The Inimicus uses allomimesis, which is a form of camouflage, where an animal mimics a lifeless object. The Inimicus, which belongs to the Stonefish family (Synanceiidae), mimics a stone or a rock. When the fish feels threatened and moves around, it displays its warning colours by opening its pelvic fins, a clear warning to potential predators.

These two opposite defence systems are exploited by this highly venomous demersal ambush predator (demersal means living and feeding near or on the bottom).

The Inimicus uses camouflage to hunt prey and aposematic coloured pectoral fins to warn off potential predators. The Inimicus is not the only fish in the order of Scorpaenoids that uses these opposite forms of deception.

The False Stonefish or Devil Scorpionfish (Scorpaenopsis diabolus) looks quite different from the Inimicus and is not a Stonefish but a Scorpionfish (Scorpaenidae), but it exhibits the same characteristics.

The Latin name "inimicus" means enemy (the opposite of "amicus," which means friend).

The name “Inimicus” refers actually to the genus Inimucus, a genus within the Stonefish family.

The exact species in this underwater videoclip is the “Inimicus filamentosus”, also is known as the Filament-finned Stinger and is endemic to the Western Indian Ocean. It ranges from the Red Sea in the North, to South Africa in the South and to the Maldives in the East and it includes Madagascar, and the islands of the Seychelles and Mascareignes.


I do not recommend filming a fish (or any other animal) from behind or above, unless it is necessary to reveal specific details that cannot be seen otherwise. I increased the saturation of the orange to boost the colours of the Inimicus' pectoral fins.

More on this topic:

For a more in-depth description about the False Stonefish or Devil Scorpionfish please go to our vlog post 37 or click on this link: https://www.beyondscuba.com/post/the-false-stonefish-or-devil-scorpionfish

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