In the Black or Azov Sea, you can find a very interesting fish, which has an unusual and formidable look, reminiscent of a real sea monster. A large head covered with outgrowths, huge bulging eyes, a hefty mouth with thick lips and many sharp teeth, rays of the dorsal fin, similar to real spikes. This terrible inhabitant of the sea depths is called the ruff of the sea, or in another way, scorpion.
Small but formidable predator
This monster belongs to the large family of scorpins - marine ray-finned fish - belonging to a squad of scorpiform and numbering more than 20 genera and 209 species. Representatives of this family live in the waters of tropical and temperate seas, but most prefer the Indo-Pacific region. The scorpion genus itself (the ruff of the sea is a representative of the genus), numbering 62 species, is distributed in the waters of the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean and the seas belonging to their basins.
In our country, two types of scorpion can be found - the visible scorpion and the Black Sea scorpion (sea ruff). The Black Sea, by the way, is not the only place where this amazing fish lives. She was even seen in the fresh water of the mouth of the Shapsuho River in the Caucasus, not to mention the Sea of Azov.
Scorpion - the fish is relatively small, on average, its size does not exceed 15-20 cm. Rare specimens reach half a meter in length. According to its way of life, the sea ruff belongs to predators. The basis of its diet consists of small fish, crustaceans, invertebrates. Since the sea ruff is very difficult to notice even at close range, it does not chase its prey, but lies motionless at the bottom and waits for the victim to come close to it, after which it makes a short, swift throw.
Be careful, scorpions!
The view from the sea ruff is indeed very formidable. The body of scorpions has an oblong, somewhat compressed form on each side, covered with fine rough scales, and a fin consisting of a series of sharp spines. Particularly impressive is the large head, covered with numerous spikes and outgrowths, as well as a large wide-lipped mouth. The ruff of the sea is rather variegated: there is a lot of dark spots and stripes on the brown background, the shade of which can be very different. The same spots and stripes are on the fins. A feature of scorpions is that periodically (on average - once a month), it molts. At the same time, the top layer of the skin is shed by a stocking (like that of a snake), under which there is a new one, fresher and brighter.
At the base of the thorns covering the body of scorpions, there are channels in which there is a deadly poison. But the ruff uses its poisonous spines exclusively for protection purposes. If a thorn sticks into the body, poison is injected into the wound, from which the injection site swells up and starts to hurt very much, like a wasp sting. With multiple wounds, even death is possible (which is extremely rare). In this case, it is necessary to do everything possible so that the injection site bleeds as much as possible to prevent further poison from entering the body, treat this place with hot water and go to a hospital, even if the pain began to gradually subside. By the way, when cleaning already caught fish it is also necessary to observe security measures.
Despite the menacing appearance, the sea ruff, the photo of which reminds of real monsters, is not just edible - its white and juicy meat is considered a real delicacy. From scorpions you can cook a lot of delicious dishes. Especially popular are ear and ruff, baked in foil. Because of this, they often become a desirable prey for lovers of fishing or spearfishing, because, because of their inactivity, they allow them to swim very close to themselves.