Beauty and the Beast: 20 Most Venomous Fishes in the World
By: nobert bermosa
Not all fish are edible. There are fishes that are not suitable for human consumption. There are more venomous fish
than venomous snakes. There are at least 1,200 species of venomous fish in the world. But some venomous fish are
also edible. Here’s a list of the most venomous fishes in the world. I categorized these venomous fish in two; the
Beauties and the Beasts.
Here they are, the venomous Beauties….
1. Antennata Lionfish (Pterois antennata)
The Antennata Lionfish is the first in our list. Look at her; she’s really such a beauty to admire. This species of beautiful
but venomous fish also known as the Ragged-finned Firefish or Spotfin Lionfish, has red, white, and black vertical stripes
along the body; large, fan-like pectoral fins; and tall, quill-like dorsal fins. Lionfish in general are notable for their extremely
long and separated spines, and have a generally striped appearance, red, brown, orange, yellow, black, maroon, or white.
Lionfish have venomous spines that are deadly to their prey, but usually not to humans (though the venom is used purely
for defense, not attack). If a human is envenomated, that person will experience severe pain and possible headaches
and vomiting. A common treatment is soaking the afflicted area in hot water, as very few hospitals carry specific treat-
ments. However, immediate emergency medical treatment is still advised, as some people may be more susceptible
to the venom than others.
2. Clearfin Lionfish (Pterois radiate)
I would like to put this stunning beauty in my aquarium, no matter what, even if it’s poisonous. The Clearfin Lionfish,
Tailbar Lionfish, Radiata Lionfish or Radial Firefish, is a carnivorous ray-finned fish with venomous spines that lives
in the Indian and western Pacific oceans. It is the only lionfish species with blank spines. But it can also be recognized
by the pair of horizontal white stripes on its tail.
3. Devil Firefish (Pterois miles)
The name of this fish is totally opposite to its appearance. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that a very pretty fish like this
is venomous. This species is known as the common lionfish or Devil firefish. This fish is frequently confused with its
close relative, the Red Lionfish. Fin spines are highly venomous and can be dangerous to humans.
4. Zebra Turkeyfish (Dendrochirus zebra)
I love this one. It’s so adorable. Isn’t it pleasing to the eyes? This is a Zebra turkeyfish or Zebra lionfish. It is a carnivo-
rous ray-finned fish with venomous spines that lives in the Indian and western Pacific oceans. This member of the
scorpion fish family has thirteen venomous spines along its back, used to defend itself. These fish are slow-moving
and peaceful, but can be dangerous. They have a habit of resting in places hidden from light such as under a rock or
a piece of coral. They are immune to each other’s poison. These are solitary fish that are fearless and do not need to
be afraid of anything, as they have no natural predators.
5. Red Lionfish (Pterois volitans)
This fish is as lovely as the first four on the list and of course, a venomous fish just like them. The red lionfish is a veno-
mous coral reef fish from the Indian and western Pacific Oceans. The red lionfish is also found off the east coast of the
US, and was likely first introduced off the Florida coast in the early to mid-1990s. All of the spines on a lionfish are veno-
mous, creating a danger primarily to divers and fishermen if stung. Although there have been no known fatalities caused
by lionfish stings, they are reportedly extremely painful.
6. Weedy Scorpionfish (Rhinopias frondosa)
I don’t know where to categorize this one but I decided to include it in here because of the popular line “pretty in pink”.
It looks unique. This is named weedy scorpionfish, sometimes also known as the popeyed scorpionfish, is a carnivo-
rous also a ray-finned fish with venomous spines that lives in the Indian and Western Pacific oceans, from Japan to
Australia and from South Africa to the Caroline Islands. They are found in depths ranging from 13 to 90 meters.
7. Striped Eel Catfish (Plotosus lineatus)
These are cute catfish that belongs to plotosus family. All species of plotosus have been confirmed to be venomous
except for Plotosus fisadoha. The anterior spines of the dorsal and pectoral fins can inflict painful wounds. In Plotosus
lineatus, the highly venomous serrate spine of the first dorsal and each of the pectoral fins may even be fatal.
8. Gopher Rockfish (Sebastes carnatus)
The gopher rockfish is fairly handsome. It is a rockfish of the Pacific coast, primarily off California. Gopher rockfish have
a generally mottled appearance, with dark areas generally olive to reddish brown, and the lighter areas being white or
maybe pinkish. The upper part of the back almost always has three light patches extending into the dorsal fins, and the
lighter areas become more extensive ventrally. It has a venom gland in its dorsal, anal and pelvic spines. They range in
size up to about 40 cm.
9. Southern Stingray (Dasyatis americana)
Stingrays look amazing. The southern stingray is a stingray of the family Dasyatidae found in tropical and subtropical
waters of the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico. It has a flat, diamond-shaped body, with a
mud brown upper-body and white underbelly. The barb on its tail is venomous and is used for self defense.
10. Spiny Dogfish (Squalus acanthias)
Dogfish is a name applied to a number of small sharks found in the northeast Atlantic, Pacific, and Mediterranean.
Care must be taken when handling dogfish due to the two venomous spines at the back of both dorsal fins. The
venom is not likely to cause major damage, but the wound can take months to heal. Dogfish is a popular fish food
in some countries.
And now, here are the venomous best, I mean beasts…….
1. Oyster Toadfish (Opsanus tau)
The dorsal fin and gill cover spines on the oyster toadfish also known as ugly toad of the family Batrachoididae are
hollow and will inject venom into any predator attempting to eat the fish. Its dorsal fins and opercular spines are so
poisonous, that eating them may result in serious illness or death. Toadfish are well known for their ability to “sing”,
males in particular using the swim bladder as a sound-production device used to attract mates.
2. Porcupinefish (Diodontidae)
Porcupinefish is also commonly called blowfish. Porcupinefish have the ability to inflate their body by swallowing water
(or air) and become round like a ball. This increase in size (almost double vertically) reduces the range of potential
predators to those with much bigger mouths. A second defense mechanism is provided by the sharp spines, which
radiate outwards when the fish is inflated. Porcupinefish are poisonous, having a tetrodotoxin in their skin and/or intes-
tines. As a result porcupinefish have few predators.
3. Short-tailed Stingray (Dasyatis brevicaudata)
The short-tail stingray, also known as the smooth stingray, is the largest stingray in the world. It is a member of
Dasyatidae, the stingray family. It is one of numerous species sometimes called “bull rays”. There are often 2 stings,
the front one small, the rear one considerably larger, which bear toxin glands. Though it can inflict severe wounds, it is
considered more inquisitive than aggressive. This species of stingray was responsible for the death of television
personality Steve Irwin. He was pierced in the chest by a stingray barb in 2006 while snorkeling in Australia and died
4. Spotbase burrfish (Cyclichthys spilostylus)
Spotbased burrfish is also known as the yellowspotted burrfish. It can be hazardous to humans because this fish has
been associated with ciguatera poisoning. Like pufferfishes and boxfishes it concentrates tetrodotoxin within its body.
The jaws are extremely strong and are capable of inflicting a severe bite.
5. Pufferfish (Tetraodontidae)
Puffer Fish are the second most poisonous vertebrate in the world, the first being a Golden Poison Frog. The skin and
certain internal organs of many Tetraodontidae are highly toxic to humans, but nevertheless the meat of some species
is considered a delicacy in both Japan (as fugu) and Korea (as bok-uh).
6. Stargazer (Uranoscopidae)
(Eastern Stargazer, Kathetostoma leave)
The stargazer, though not good-looking, is unique. Its eyes are located on top of their heads (thus the name). In addition
to the top-mounted eyes, stargazers also have a large upward-facing mouth in a large head. Their usual habit is to bury
themselves in sand, and leap upwards to ambush prey (benthic fish and invertebrates) that pass overhead. Stargazers
are venomous; they have two large poison spines situated behind the opercle and above the pectoral fins. They can also
cause electric shocks.
7. Largescaled Scorpionfish (Scorpaena scrofa)
Another odd-looking fish is the scorpionfish. They are a family (Scorpaenidae) 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. The spines of and pelvic fins all have venom glands
at their bases.
8. Tassled Scorpionfish (Scorpaenopsis oxycephala)
This bizarre looking fish is called the tasseled scorpionfish. It is a carnivorous ray-finned fish with venomous spines
that lives in the Indian and Pacific oceans. It can reach a maximum length of 36 cm and can vary considerably in color.
Adults are bearded with a number of tassels below the jaw.
9. Reef Stonefish (Synanceja verrucosa)
Hey! You’re so ugly! Stonefishes are carnivorous ray-finned fish with venomous spines that lives on reef bottoms,
camouflaged as a rock. The Stonefish is the most venomous fish in the world. Its dorsal area is lined with 13 spines
hat release venom from two sacs attached to each spine. Its venom causes severe pain with possible shock, paralysis,
and tissue death depending on the depth of the penetration.
10. Red Sea stonefish (Synanceia nana)
Another ugly-looking fish, the Red Sea stonefish can reach a length up to 13.5cm, described as “hazardous” due to
the venom contained in its dorsal spines. They inhabit Western Indian Ocean: the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf.
It seems that the uglier the fish, the more venomous it is. Well, whether they are ugly or they are good-looking, always
be careful with these fishes because they can bring you harm, or worse, death.