Animal Species:Zebra Lionfish, Dendrochirus zebra (Cuvier, 1829)
The Zebra Lionfish's striking colouration is a "warning" to potential predators that the species has poisonous dorsal fin spines. The species is widely distributed throughout the tropical Indo-Pacific.
Standard Common Name
Butterfly Scorpionfish, Dwarf Lionfish, Fan Dancer, Many-spotted Butterfly-cod, Zebra Butterfly-cod
The Zebra Lionfish can be distinguished by a combination of characters including its long pectoral and dorsal fins, its colouration, the number of scales in the lateral line and the number of pectoral fin rays. The striking colouration is a "warning" to potential predators that this species has poisonous dorsal fin spines.
The Zebra Lionfish looks similar to the Dwarf Lionfish. The easiest way to tell them apart is by the presence of spotted bands crossing the pectoral fins of the Dwarf Lionfish.
The Zebra Lionfish is widely distributed throughout the tropical Indo-Pacific. In Australia it is found from Shark Bay, Western Australia, around the tropical north, and south to Sydney, New South Wales.
The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.
Distribution by collection data
Danger to humans and first aid
The species has poisonous dorsal fin spines.
- Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
- Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
- Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Crawford House Press. Pp. 437.
- Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Tags Fishes, Ichthyology, Zebra Lionfish, Dendrochirus zebra, Scorpaenidae, orange, red, yellow, white, brown, grey, odd-shaped, 'normal fish', bands, stripes, tropical, pelagic, marne, adult, poisonous,