Saturday, July 26, 2014

Reef Stonefish – Poison that Kills

Swimming around rocks and corals is probably one of the most amazing things to do when you’re out in the water. It’s like taking a walk in an underwater garden since you get to enjoy the wonderful colors of the reef and aquatic life that swims by. However, you should always be cautious when swimming in these areas. Some of the most poisonous creatures are masters of camouflage and you won’t even notice them, even if they’re right in front of you.

Reef Stonefishes are one of the best when it comes to camouflage. They look exactly like a part of a coral formation or a rock and it’s really easy to pass by them. They’re commonly found all throughout the tropical waters in the Indo-Pacific. If you’re lucky enough to actually spot one of these fishes, you might want to keep your hands away since it has short dorsal spines that can inject very poisonous venom. In fact, the poison can easily take a grown man down in a matter of minutes.

There are two species of stonefish, the Estuary Stonefish and the Reef Stonefish. The easiest way to tell them both apart is by looking at their eyes. There is a deep depression between the Reef Stonefish eyes while the Estuary Stonefish has a bony ridge between its eyes. They grow to about 35 cm but some 50 cm specimens have been seen. Since they’re very well camouflaged and fast, prey like crustaceans and smaller fishes don’t see what’s coming.  

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