A stony-faced stare

A stone-faced stare – Photograph by Laura Lecce

Would you even know you were looking at one of the worlds most venomous fish? Anyone would be grumpy with a face like this one. This is a stonefish and as you can imagine is easily stepped on by people due to the fact that it is not easily distinguished from its surroundings. The venom from this fish is extremely painful and can be lethal, so of course (like most venomous things) it lives in waters around Australia. If you are unfortunate enough to be stung by this fish, heat treatment of the site can be used to destroy the venom. For more severe cases antivenom is administered. The moral of this story is that when snorkeling do not pick up or touch anything….. even something as harmless looking as a stone can kill you.

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17 thoughts on “A stony-faced stare

    1. Yep, you spotted it, just a lumpy stone with an eye and a grumpy frown. It’s kind of strange, as usually poisonous animals make it pretty clear that you should stay away (usually with bright colors or patterns).

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      1. I was looking at this rock for a while thinking there was something odd about it, but I couldn’t figure out what… until I saw the eyes. Even with me in his face taking photos he didn’t blink or flinch at all!

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      2. No. Maybe because I have seen scarier? The scariest thing was a giant jellyfish whose head was the size of a trash bin lid and a skirt of tentacles like a wedding dress. So mesmerizing and beautiful but incredibly intimidating. It knew we were in the water next to it because it kept turning and swimming towards us (slowly) but it made us get out of the water pretty fast!

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      3. And certainly never touch anything. In the waters around Australia we have this very beautiful cone snail in a gorgeous little shell (very cute) but listed as one of the top 10 most venomous creatures in the world. Also the adorable blue-ringed octopus which fits into the palm of your hand lives in rock pools and is so cute, but also very venomous!

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    1. Hi Pete, it took me a while too. I couldn’t understand why this rock looked weird to me. Then I saw the eyes and mouth and realized I was looking at a fish. It didn’t move at all. I stayed for a while to see if it would blink or give itself away… totally unflinching!

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  1. So clever of you to keep your eyes wide open and full of caution. I’ve been very fortunate in my visits to your neck of the woods never to have had any close encounters with any of the local nasties, though I’ve wandered off into attractive bush on several occasions. Hopefully your warning may prevent others’ unfortunate incidents!


    1. I’m glad you’ve managed to escape all the Aussie nasties. Although most of them are just as afraid of us, so they tend to leave people alone for the most part.


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