The Stone Fish and Its Deadly Poison
What Is A Stone Fish?
Stonefish (Synanceia Verrucosa) is known to be one of Australiaâ??s deadliest marine creatures. It is often found in shallow waters in northern Australia and in the Indo-Pacific Region. The fish got its name from its ability to camouflage as a rock.
The fatal combination of being able to appear like a harmless rock underwater and its deadly poison makes the stonefish a deadly fish. It must also be noted that the stonefish can survive up to 24 hours out of the water. It is often mistaken as a rock or a coral when it stays along the seashore. The length of a stonefish reaches up to 14 inches long and its thirteen extremely sharp dorsal spines in the back are poisonous because of its toxic venom. Its poisonous dorsal spines are used by the stonefish as their defense mechanism against the bottom-feeding sharks and rays. Humans accidentally stepping on a stonefish in shallow waters are seriously injured because of its extremely toxic venom.
The victim will feel extreme pain and experience swelling that rapidly develops to death. The occurrence of symptoms depends on the number of spines involved and the length of the penetration. The venomâ??s effects include temporary shock, paralysis and muscle weakness that if not treated immediately, may cause death.
Once you are stung by the dorsal spines of the stonefish, you may immediately put hot water into the affected area but hospitalization is the best remedy to prevent other infections from occurring. Sometimes, when there is severe pain, a local anesthetic infiltration is required. Usually, the stonefish anti-venom is given intramuscular. You will know that the victim needs to be administered with anti-venom when he/she is:
- suffering from severe pain
- having symptoms like paralysis and weakness in their body
- having multiple punctures meaning that the dorsal spines are being discharged
Eating the Stonefish
Though considered as deadly, the stonefish is a fixture in Asian and tropic cuisine. It is often served as a sashimi called okoze and may also be served boiled or deep fried. The stonefish deploys its venom when it bites its prey or when its human victims step on its sharp dorsal spines. However, when its venom is cooked, it loses its potency. And when it is served as an okoze, its venomous dorsal fins are removed. The remaining fish meat is non toxic.
With the stonefish, itâ??s either youâ??re the hunter or the prey. Itâ??s a matter of whether you end in the hospital or the stonefish ends in your stomach. Of course, if you dare to eat this deadly fish.
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