Stonefish Australia - Dangers and first aid


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Stone Fish
Species -
synanceja trachynis, synaneichthyes verrucosus




The Stone Fish is a a mottled brown-greenish in colour (which makes them camouflaged) with many venomous spines along its back. The Stone Fish is only dangerous if stepped on or caught. 13 dorsal spines project from venomous glands along the back . The venom is involuntarily expelled when pressure is applied to them. It takes a few weeks before the gland regenerate again.


The stonefish lives primarily above the tropic of Capricorn. Its main habitat is on coral reefs, near and about rocks, or can be found dormant in the mud or sand. 

It feeds on small fish and shrimps.


The sting causes excruciating pain and a great deal of swelling rapidly develops causing death to tissues. The severity of the symptoms depends on the depth of penetration and the number of spines penetrated. The symptoms of the venom are muscle weakness, temporary paralysis and shock, which may result in death if not treated.

First Aid Do not attempt to restrict the movement of the injected toxin.

Bathing or immersing the stung area in hot water may be effective in reducing the pain.  transport the patient to the nearest medical centre. Hospitalisation for intravenous narcotic analgesia, local anaesthetic infiltration or regional block may be required.

Definitive management consists of administration of stonefish antivenom. Indications for antivenom include severe pain,  systemic symptoms or signs of  (weakness, paralysis) and injection of a large amount of venom.