Animal Species:Demon Stingerfish, Inimicus caledonicus (Sauvage, 1878)

The Demon Stingerfish has poisonous dorsal fin spines that can cause a painful wound. The species is found in shallow, tropical marine waters.

A Demon Stingerfish at Redang

A Demon Stingerfish at Redang
Photographer: Erik Schlögl © Erik Schlögl

Standard Common Name

Demon Stingerfish

Alternative Name/s

The species has also been called the Bearded Ghoul and Demon Stinger.


The Demon Stingerfish is usually brown, sometimes with whitish blotches. Its eyes are positioned above the dorsal margin of the head. It has long venomous dorsal fin spines that can inflict a painful wound. The lower two pectoral fin rays are detached from the rest of the fin. These are used by the Demon Stingerfish to crawl along the seabed.

Size range

The species grows to about 25 cm in length.

Similar Species

Three species of Inimicus occur in Australian waters. These are the Demon Stingerfish, the Longsnout Stinger, I. didactylus and the Spotted Stonefish, I. sinensis. They can be separated by a combination of characters that include the colouration of the inner surface of the pectoral fin of live fish. The Demon Stingerfish has two dark bands and a pale margin on the inner surface of the pectoral fin. The inner surface of the pectoral fin of the Longsnout Stinger has a dark base and a dark margin. The Spotted Stonefish's inner pectoral surface is dark with white blotches.


It occurs in tropical marine waters of the Eastern Indian Ocean to Western Pacific.

In Australia it is known from northern Queensland, south to the northern coast of 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.

Inimicus caledonicus

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Demon Stingerfish in the Australian Museums.

What does this mean?


The species is usually found in sandy areas and seagrass beds.



What does this mean?


  1. Eschmeyer, W.N. & K.V. Rama-Rao. 1979. Fishes of the Scorpionfish subfamily Choridactylinae from the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences. XLI(21): 475-500.
  2. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  3. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.

Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags fish, ichthyology, Demon Stingerfish, Inimicus caledonicus, Synanceiidae, brown, odd-shaped, ''normal fish', 10 cm - 30 cm, blotches, seagrass, marine, adult, poisonous,