Stonefish Facts

Stonefish Facts
Stonefish is the most venomous fish in the world. There are 5 species of stonefish that can be found in the coastal regions of Indian and Pacific oceans. Some species of stonefish live in the rivers. Stonefish lives close to coral reefs and underwater rocks. It often lies buried in the sand in the shallow water. Stonefish is consumed as delicacy in Asia and kept in aquariums throughout the world due to its unusual appearance. Despite the fact that human activity decreases the number of stonefish in the wild, their population is still large and stable. Stonefish is not on the list of endangered species.
Interesting Stonefish Facts:
Size of stonefish depends on the species. It usually reaches 14 to 20 inches in length and up to 5 pounds in weight.
Body of stonefish is covered with encrusted brown or grey skin, with red, orange or yellow patches. Thanks to specific texture and color, stonefish easily blends with its environment (it looks like a stone or a part of the coral reef).
Dorsal fin of stonefish is modified into 13 spines. Stonefish erects these spines whenever it is threatened.
Stonefish also have 2 pelvic and 3 anal spines, but they are hidden in the skin.
Venom is produced in the gland located in the base of each spine. Venom will be released after application of pressure (after stepping on the fish hidden in the sand, for example).
Amount of released venom is proportional to the applied pressure (bigger pressure - larger amount of venom). Empty venom sacs will be refilled in a couple of weeks.
Venom produced by stonefish induces severe pain, paralysis and tissue necrosis. Since it may lead to heart failure, quick medical help is essential. Complete recovery requires adequate amount of anti-venom.
Stonefish is a carnivore (meat-eater). Its diet consists of various types of fish and shrimps.
Stonefish hunts its prey using the factor of surprise (an ambush predator). It waits patiently for the prey to appear and then swallows it in a blink of an eye. Whole attack lasts 0.015 seconds.
Stonefish is a slow swimmer, except when it chases the prey.
Stonefish has several predators, such as big sharks (great white and tiger shark) and rays.
Unlike other species of fish, stonefish is able to survive 24 h outside the water. Another interesting characteristic of stonefish is that it can spit water.
Stonefish can live as a solitary creature or as a part of a group.
Just like in many other marine creatures, fertilization takes place in the water. Female releases huge number of eggs that will be sprayed with male's sperm. These eggs are food for many sea creatures and only small number of fertilized eggs will survive and reach maturity.
Stonefish can survive from 5 to 10 years in the wild.

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