Synanceia horrida (stonefish)

Interesting Facts

  • S. horrida is the most venomous fish in the world according to the Guinness book of world records.
  • It is actually relatively safe to eat once cooked, as heat breaks down the venom.

  • There is more antivenin used for the S. horrida in Australia than any other animal (267 reported usages of the stonefish antivenom between the years 1965-1981). If you look at the S. horrida along with organisms such as the Portuguese man o war (Physalia physalis) which stings thousands of people every year, it should give you reason to be smart about where and when you enter the waters of Australia.

  • The Australian Aborigines created a dance about the stonefish in order to educate the new generations about the perils of the stonefish venom. The dance includes a performer stepping onto a clay model of a S. horrida and then miming an agonized scream.

  • Venom from the S. horrida can only be used defensively as it has no manual control over the projection of the venom. It is only expressed when another organism punctures itself on the spines.

  • Often found in public aquariums and in the aquariums in people's homes, no statistics seem to be available on how many people sting themselves on pet stonefish.

  • Based on a study done on frogs, it was found that the venom from the S. horrida activates adrenoceptors (beta-receptors).


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