Monday, December 7, 2009

Escape from stonefish at Tanah Merah

Yesterday at Tanah Merah, I had a close shave from stepping on a Hollow-cheeked stonefish (Synanceia horrida).

I was actually first wanting to look at the Dolphin shell snail (Angaria delphinus) circled in red. When I got closer to the snail and squatted down, I was shocked to see a face among the debris and that was the infamous stonefish. Can you find the stonefish in this photo?

This was the Dolphin shell snail that I was initially looking at.

I know it's almost impossible to find the stonefish without any guidance while walking on some parts of the shore. Circled in black is the fellow! It is almost completely blended into the environment.

And here's the stonefish's front view. They are called stonefishes simply because they look like a stone and remain rather motionless most of the time, just like a real stone.

The stonefish is one of the most dangerous fishes on our shores. It has tough dorsal fin spines that can penetrate thick soled shoes. These act like hypodermic needles, injecting a venom that can be fatal to humans. Stonefishes produce neurotoxin that is considered the most deadly of the fish venoms. The fishes use their spines in self-defence and not for hunting prey.

Stonefishes are carnivores but don't actively hunt their prey. Instead, they lie motionless, relying on their camouflage to remain undetected. When a suitable snack comes close enough, they suck it into their huge mouths, or grab it with a sudden lunge of incredible speed. They generally eat fishes and crustaceans.

Amusingly, some snails found their way on top of this hideous looking fish.

I turned this fish over and it remained very much pretty motionless. The underside is orange or brownish in colour. It is about 15cm in length.

Thank God I managed to squat before the stonefish, and not at it. If I were to squash it, both myself and the poor fish will be in pain.

Will blog about the day's trip later.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I caught a stonefish in the Florida intracoastal. I have no idea how I caught it because it's supposed to be from the other side of the world.

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