Thursday, May 5, 2011

Reef Stonefish

Synanceia verrucosa
Meet the most venomous fish in the entire world, the Reef Stonefish. These well camouflaged fish have thirteen spines on their backs that are capable of injecting extremely toxic venom into their unlucky victims. They do only use the venom as a defense mechanism, and will not actively attack with it. It  causes intense pain, and can lead to death in humans, though an antivenom was developed in 1959.

Reef Stonefish live in the shallow waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans, and they are solitary through most of their lifetimes. When they do come together for reproduction purposes the female will first lay her eggs across the seafloor, the male then swims by to fertilize them. Newly hatched Reef Stonefish are quite well developed.

Reef Stonefish blend in very well with the environment they live in. They look a lot like a rock or a chunk of coral, and are typically mottled brown or gray with patches of color. The Stonefish uses this camouflage for two purposes, to hide away from predators, and to sneak up on it's own, unsuspecting prey. They wait for small fish and crustaceans to swim by, and then strike quickly, sucking them in with rapid speed.

IUCN Status : Not Listed
Location : Indian and Pacific Oceans
Size : Length 16in (40cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Actinopterygii -- Order : Scorpaeniformes
Family : Synanceiidae -- Genus : Synanceia -- Species : S. verrucosa

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