Small to large-sized fishes. Body shape variable; head moderate to large; eyes and mouth small to large. Skin at gill openings broadly connected to isthmus. Suborbital stay becoming wider posteriorly. Lower pectoral fin rays free in some species. Head and body, except for lateral line, without exposed scales. Color: highly variable, from blackish to reddish, usually with spots or blotches; barred or mottled color patterns in most species. Inside of pectoral fin with various color markings.|
Similar families occurring in the area. Scorpaenidae: skin at gill opening not broadly connected to isthmus. Aploactinidae: body covered with modified, prickly scales.
Remarks. Found on bottom from inshore shallow waters to relatively deep waters. Dorsal, anal, and pelvic fin spines highly venomous in most species.