Juan Pereira of Quo Vadis sent in the photograph of the poorly known plain popeyed scorpionfish, Rhinopias eschmeyeri , taken at Aliwal Shoal.  His   photograph is the first record we have of this species for South Africa. It is also known from Mauritius, Réunion and Seychelles in the WIO; Western Australia, Philippines and Indonesia in the eastern Indian Ocean; Vietnam,  Japan  and Queensland, Australia, in the western Pacific Ocean. Soon after we were sent the photograph we were sent another photograph of the same species taken by Barry Skinstad at Ponta Mamoli. Like the weedy popeyed scorpionfish, Rhinopias frondosa, it is found in a great variety of  colours. The plain popeye is usually  a uniform colour (with some indistinct white spots and banding) and a black (rarely white) spot near the rear of the dorsal fin. It also has a pair of (usually) round fleshy flaps above the eye and a pair of chin

tentacles like a miniature bow tie. The weedy popeye has numerous dark-margined circles and elongated spots of colour on the head and body with a pair of long slender tentacles above the eyes and 9—24 chin tentacles.

The plain popeyed scorpionfish, Rhinopias eschmeyeri (above left), photographed at Aliwal Shoal by Juan Pereira. The weedy popeyed scorpionfish, Rhinopias frondosa (above right),  from off Rocky Bay, photographed by Peter van Niekerk from Smiths’ Sea Fishes.

After looking at these two Rhinopias species we took another look at the Rhinopias in the SAIAB collection. One juvenile we had collected at Aliwal Shoal looked somewhat different to the adults so we sent its photograph to Hiroyuki Motamura, the Rhinopias expert. He said he thought it was a juvenile of the rare Hippo-scorpaena filamentosa previously known from three specimens from the Philippines. It has a similar head configuration to Rhinopias but its main distinguishing features are the black spots on the ventral margin of the tail fin and the blackish pelvic and anal fin membranes. Hiroyuki has since borrowed the specimen for closer examination.

A 19 mm SL juvenile Hippocorpaena filamentosa from Aliwal Shoal. This specimen is a new distribution record, the first specimen known from the WIO and  from Africa. Photograph by Phil Heemstra.

              Emma Booysen sent us a CD of fishes that she photographed at Aliwal Shoal and Sodwana Bay to help document our species lists from those localities. We have a list of species known (from a photograph or a SAIAB specimen), or likely to be found at Sodwana Bay and Aliwal Shoal. Many fishes you may see    locally are not necessarily in museum collections or photographed or even known to occur at that locality by scientists who spend only a small portion of their time underwater. Donating your photographs to our database makes additional material accessible to aid scientists in their work (you still retain your copyright).