The stonefish is the most venomous of all fish. It can produce venom that’s most lethal to humans; it can hide in its surroundings; it can do a lot of incredible things you may not expect from a fish. Here are five of the most shocking stonefish facts that you want to know should you come across them.
They are the most venomous fish in the world
In the underwater world, you don’t have to be the largest creature to be the biggest treat. Despite measuring at only 30 to 40 centimetres, the venom that the stonefish produces is some of the most venomous in the world and is fatal to not just marine animals but humans too.
For a complete recovery, a sufficient amount of anti-venom is required to quickly reverse the effects. Symptoms of a stonefish sting start with excruciating pain and swelling, which quickly develop into paralysis, tissue necrosis, and even heart failure if left untreated.
They are masters of disguise
With their encrusted brown or grey skin, and red or yellow patches, the stonefish has the ability to blend incredibly well with its surroundings.
Not only are they difficult to notice, but due to their size, they’re often mistaken for a stone or part of a coral reef. But the failure to distinguish a stonefish from a stone due to this camouflaging can have life-threatening consequences.
It’s often exciting to spot the most disguised critters when diving so remember to take notice of what’s hiding in the rocky seafloor or coral. What other camouflaged critters can you spot in our tank?
Their venom sacs are found in their dorsal fin spines
All 13 of them. Yes, the stonefish has 13 sharp dorsal fin spines along its back, each armed with two venom glands which release the deadly substance when the fish is disturbed or stepped on. In addition, the stonefish also has two pelvic and three anal spines hidden underneath its thick skin.
They are very fast predators
How fast, you ask? They can attack their prey in as little as 0.015 seconds.
You might assume that, as the most venomous fish in the sea, stonefish kill their prey using the venom in their spines, but this is not the case – instead, they capture their prey with speed. Stonefish sink in the sand and wait patiently for shrimps or small fish to swim by and then swallow the unsuspecting victim in just a fraction of a second. Despite this incredible speed, they are generally very slow swimmers, except when they hunt.
They can survive for up to 24 hours out of water
Unlike most species of fish, the stonefish is able to survive for up to a full day out of the water, which is an uncommon trait in the deep-sea animal kingdom. This is why you should be extra precaution when walking on beaches, where they’re known to be present – but only in the coastal regions of the Indian and Pacific oceans.
They can be found at Blue Planet Aquarium
Here’s a bonus fact about the stonefish: you can come and see one up close at Blue Planet Aquarium