Synanceia verrucosa Bloch and Schneider, 1801, Indian Ocean.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Stonefish, dornorn; French: Poisson pierre commun; Japanese: Oni-darumaokoze.
Reaches 15.7 in (40 cm) maximum length. The reef stonefish is among the best-camouflaged species in the world. Most of these fishes look like encrusted rocks or pieces of coral. Most specimens are dark brown or gray, but they usually have patches of yellow, red, or orange.
This is the most widely distributed stonefish. It can be found throughout the Indo-Pacific from Africa to the Tuomoto Archipelago.
Usually found living among rubble, on coral bottoms, or under rocks or ledges. They also are found on sandy or muddy bottoms, where they often bury themselves.
This is the world’s most venomous fish. Unlike most scorpaenoids, the stonefishes have grooves in their dorsal spines that act like syringes to deliver venom.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
This species feeds primarily on small fishes and crustaceans that swim by.
Stonefishes are typically solitary creatures, but they do form larger aggregations for mating. The reef stonefish has external fertilization, and produces comparatively large eggs.
Not listed by the IUCN.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Despite the extreme danger associated with collecting this species, there are commercial fisheries for both dead and live fish markets. In addition to their commercial fishery, stonefishes make their way into the aquarium trade. The sting of the stone fish is extremely painful and is followed by rapid swelling around the wound. The severity of the response is related to the depth of the penetration by the spines. The treatment of the wound consists of bathing the stung area in very hot water until the victim can be hospitalized. For more serious stings, it is often advisable for stonefish antivenin to be given intramuscularly. The stonefish antivenin is composed of purified antibodies against stonefish venoms and venom components. These antibodies are harvested from laboratory animals, which are given small doses of the venom. Eventually, these animals build up a tolerance to the venom, which allows them to produce the large quantity of venom antibodies required for the antivenin.
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