This fish calls the Indo-Pacific waters as their home. They live in shallow waters and coral reefs from the Red Sea to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. They can also be found near rocks or lying sleeping in the mud or sand.
It’s not enough that they have the perfect camouflage by looking like rocks to hide themselves both from predators and would-be victims; they also have needlelike dorsal-fin spines equipped with the most potent neurotoxin a fish could ever have. And we’re not talking here about two or three spiky spines. We’re talking about 13 prickly grooved spines!
Meet the stonefish (Synanceia verrucosa), the most venomous fish in the world! When the fish is disturbed or threatened, its dorsal fin spines will stick up and secrete the venom from the glands at the base of the spines. This can be deadly for any human unlucky enough to step on them. The pain is said to be so excruciating that victims want the affected limb to be cut off. The toxin may cause shock, paralysis and tissue death depending on the depth of the penetration and the number of spines involved.
Are they edible?
Interestingly, being known as the world’s most venomous fish doesn’t deter some people from the stonefish. In fact some avid aquarium owners find them to be the perfect aquarium pets. Stonefish meat is also sold in Hong Kong markets and is consumed as an expensive sashimi in Japan where they are called okoze.