Let’s talk about a Master of Camouflage, the deadly Stonefish
The Stonefish can be found in many of the popular day trip destinations in Phuket. They are not small, reaching an average length of 30 to 40 centimeters and up to 2 kg in weight.
They have the ability to blend in the environment quite well and they can be quite difficult to notice underwater. A bottom-dweller, their appearance gives them the look of a rock or stone while they lay still waiting for a prey. Their odd shape works well for lying in wait but watching one swim is quite comical, luckily they rarely need to. They tend to walk on very stiff fins when moving to a different hunting spot. When a prey is in the striking zone, the attack takes about 0.015 seconds. Anything that fits into the cavernous mouth is fair game.
The Stonefish defense mechanism is the venom that they pack in 13 dorsal spines. This venom is released when pressure is applied on the spine, so this highlights the importance of good buoyancy control for divers. Watch where you put those hands, this fish is the most venomous in the world! The stonefish venom is excruciating painful and if left untreated could result in death.
Unsurprisingly, the list of predators that will eat a stonefish is a short one. Large sharks and rays have been found with stonefish remains in their stomachs but it’s thought to be an opportunist meal rather than actively seeking them out. Some of the larger sea snakes have also been observed eating juvenile stonefish.
You want to get the most out of your diving experience with Local Dive Thailand? Why not take the AWARE Fish Identification Specialty course, where you’ll learn more about the fish we encounter underwater.
Posted in Rare & Peculiar Critters on .