Uncommon in the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Distributed throughout the Indo-West Pacific: southern Australia and New Zealand. In Australia recorded from South Australia across through Victoria and to northern New South Wales and including around Tasmania.
Frequents a wide range of habitats, silty estuarine conditions to offshore rocky or kelp covered substrates. Juveniles sometimes seen in rockpools. Depth 5 - 50 m.
Colouration extremely variable, from dull purple to bright red. Feeds on a variety of benthic invertebrates and fishes. A nocturnal species not often observed, sometimes buries in mud. More common in the southern part of its range, top image a small juvenile approximately 20 mm in length, lower image, around 45 mm long. Grows to 30 cm. Identification thanks to Dr Hiroyuki Motomura, Australian Museum Research Associate, from Kagoshima University Museum, Japan.
Kuiter, R. H., Coastal Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Published by Crawford House Press Pty. Ltd., 1993. p.120.
Atlas of Living Australia website at https://bie.ala.org.au/search?q=scorpaena+papillosa. Accessed 08/07/18.
FishBase. Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2018. World Wide Web electronic publication. https://fishbase.ca/summary/Scorpaena-papillosa.html. Accessed 08/07/18.