January 12, 2016
BLUE REEF WELCOMES
A pair of stonefish – the world’s most venomous fish species on the planet – has arrived at Newquay’s Blue Reef Aquarium this week.
Stonefish, which are also known as the goblinfish and the warty-ghoul.
The poison is held in glands under 13 jagged spines running along the stonefish’s back. The spines are so sharp they can pierce through a shoe and the fish had to be transported in a reinforced container.
The fish get their common name from their extraordinary camouflage which allows them to blend in perfectly to their rocky habitat. Their disguise is so effective they are often mistaken for stones by people who accidentally tread on them.
Blue Reef said: “Despite its relatively small size the stonefish is potentially lethal. The last recorded fatality was in Japan in 2010 when a diver stepped on one in shallow water but every year dozens of people have to be treated for serious injuries.”
According to marine experts from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef: ‘The sting causes excruciating pain and a great deal of swelling rapidly develops causing the affected tissue to die.
‘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.
“None of us are taking any chances. Whenever we do have to handle them we’re going to be very careful indeed and we will also ensure another member of staff is present”
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.