The Stonefish

The stonefish gets its name due to its ability to camouflage itself and turn into a grey colour to look like a stone.

This is how many divers end up stepping on them and getting stung.

Key Facts

It has 13 stout fin spines that all contain poison. They are usually about 35cm in length but have been known to grow to as big as 50cm.

They tend to live on the reef bottom and can bury themselves in sand. They normally eat shrimps and other crustaceans. They strike their prey extremely quickly – blink and you would miss it.

Rather than running away from their predators such as sharks and rays, they camouflage themselves to look like stones, staying put where they are, with their poisoned fin spines at the ready.

Where To Avoid Them

They are generally found in the oceans around Australia but can also be found in some rivers.

They are mainly found around the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland but have been spotted as far north as New South Wales.

Number of Deaths

There have been no recorded deaths but many divers are stung every year from the fish.

Symptoms Of Their Sting

The pain is almost instant and is intense. The victim may have difficulty breathing and may vomit or have abdominal pains.

Fainting, dizziness or even paralysis can occur.

First Aid: How To Treat A Sting

There is an anti-venom for the stonefish so you should get to the hospital as soon as possible.

In the meantime the patient must have hot water poured onto the infected area. The water should be as hot as the patient can stand. It should be over 45 degrees Celsius. This seems to destroy the venom of the stonefish.

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