• Venom-bearing fish

Venom-bearing fish - a group of fishes that have a venomous apparatus consisting of spines, barbed fin rays and venom glands at the base of these formations (scorpion, sea bass, sea dragon, etc.). Some fish have venom glands and cells in the epidermis.

Venom-bearing fish tend to be highly visible, using bright colours to deter predators, or cleverly camouflaged and possibly buried in the sand. In addition to their ability to kill prey, venom helps bottom-dwelling fish by killing bacteria that may have penetrated their skin. Few of these venoms have been studied.

The best known venomous fish is the reef rockfish. It has the ability to camouflage itself among the rocks. It is an ambush predator, sitting on the bottom waiting for prey to approach. Instead of swimming away when disturbed, it extends 13 venomous spines along its back. In defence, it can release venom from any or all of these spines. Each spine acts like a hypodermic needle, releasing venom from two sacs attached to the spine. The venom causes severe pain, paralysis and tissue death, and can be fatal if not treated with first aid. Despite their strong defences, rockfish are prey. Some bottom-dwelling stingrays and sharks with crushing teeth feed on them, as does the Stokes sea snake.

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Venom-bearing fish

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