The Reef Stonefish is the most venomous fish in the world. It is extremely well camouflaged that can blend effortlessly into its environment — It may look like a piece of coral or an encrusted rock. Living in the Great Barrier Reef and in the indo-Pacific oceans, it has thirteen sturdy spines along its dorsal fin that can inject a highly toxic and intensely painful venom.
Spot the stonefish
The stonefish is a bottom dwelling fish which hides amoungst coral and rocks. It mimics the colours and characteristic of its environment. Protected by its excellent disguish it waits for prey to pass by.
The stonefish is 35cm – 50cm in length and its base colour is usually grey or brown but with the uncany ability to add splashes of colour to its appearance to blend in with its suroundings. It is usually a rather stout fish, but it can morph into various shapes to mimic its surroundings. The stonefish does not have scales. Its skin is covered with bumps and nodules and may have algae growing on it to mimic an algae encrusted rock or coral. The stonefish has a large mouth and eyes.
There are two species of stonefish in Australia. The only way to tell them apart is the look at the position of their eyes. The Reef Stonefish (Synanceia verrucosa) has a deep depression between its eyes. The Estuary Stonefish (Synanceia horrida) has elevated eyes separated by a bony ridge.
Stone fish do not attack humans. Instead, they stay motionless in their habitat with their venemous dorsal fin spines erect as a defence.
So strictly speaking any injury suffered by a human is self-inflicted – You didn’t leave the animal alone.
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