February 27, 2013
The world’s most venomous fish species has gone on display at Hastings’ Blue Reef Aquarium.
Stonefish are found throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans and are also known as goblinfish and warty-ghouls.
The poison is held in glands under 13 jagged spines running along the stonefish’s back.
The potentially lethal fish was originally kept as a pet, however its owner handed it over to a Hampshire pet shop after its tank developed a crack.
Unable to provide it with a suitably secure tank, the pet shop contacted aquarists at Blue Reef to see if they were willing to give it a safe new home.
Blue Reef’s Chris Ireland said: “Stonefish are an amazing-looking species with extraordinarily effective camouflage which allows them to blend in perfectly with their surroundings.
“They also have a particularly fearsome reputation and are known to have caused human fatalities so we’re taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of our aquarists,” he added.
According to marine experts from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef: ‘The sting causes excruciating pain and a great deal of swelling rapidly develops.
‘The symptoms of the venom are muscle weakness, temporary paralysis and shock – which may result in death if left untreated.’
Anyone unfortunate to be stung is advised to elevate the affected limb and immerse it in hot water or apply a dry heat to the wound.
All Blue Reef aquarists have undergone specialist instruction on how to handle the potentially deadly fish.
Capable of surviving for up to 12 hours on land, the stonefish has even killed people out walking on the beach metres away from the sea.