The scorpionfish are a family of mostly marine fish that includes many of the world’s most venomous species. The family is a large one, with hundreds of members. They are widespread in tropical and temperate seas, but mostly found in the Indo-Pacific.
Stonefish and Lionfish belong in this family
Most species are bottom-dwellers that feed on crustaceans and smaller fish, in some cases using the spines to paralyze their victims before gulping them.
Others, such as the stonefish, wait in disguise for prey to pass them by before swallowing, while Lionfish often ambush their prey.
The average length of most Stonefish is about 35-50 centimeters. It has a mottled greenish to mostly brown color which aids in its ability to camouflage itself among the rocks of many of the tropical reefs. It eats mostly small fish, shrimp and other crustaceans.
Its dorsal area is lined with spines that release a venomous toxin. It is the most dangerous of known venomous fish and its venom causes severe pain with possible shock, paralysis, and tissue death depending on the depth of the penetration. This level can be fatal to humans if not given medical attention within a couple of hours. The poisonous sting of Scorpion Fish and Lionfish are said to deliver the same level of pain. Stonefish can survive out of water for up to 20 hours. These camouflaged fish lay in stealth waiting for prey to fall in range of their deadly strike.