Saltar al contenido

The stones on the way Stonefish

Pez piedra

Ir a la versión en español



The game of life at the bottom of the sea is divided between hunters and the hunted. Almost all fish have to find ways to surprise their prey and, at the same time, avoid being surprised by their predators.

Stonefish, also known as “stonefish,” are fish specialized in camouflage to such an extent that they blend seamlessly with their surroundings. Their fleshy appendages help conceal their large head and robust body. Their mottled and earth-toned coloration makes them difficult to detect as they lie motionless among rocks or algae. This deception serves to fool both their prey and predators. Small reef fish fail to notice their presence and swim right in front of their immense mouth. Then, with an almost imperceptible movement, the stonefish lunges at them, leaving them no chance to escape.

Even if predators manage to spot them, stonefish have a second line of defense. The spines on their front dorsal fin can be raised as a defensive mechanism. These spines are incredibly hard, sharp, and secrete a venom potent enough to kill the predator. Fortunately, the venom is not strong enough to cause serious harm to a diver, but the wound can be painful and may cause fever.

Submarine divers often pass by without noticing them, which doesn’t seem to bother the stonefish. Thanks to the great mobility of their eyes, they have a peripheral vision of about 300 degrees. If disturbed or touched, they appear lazy and slow-moving. When agitated, they slowly shift position, moving a few meters away among the rocks or coral. During these movements, their pectoral fins, which are usually retracted, surprise divers with their brilliantly colorful display.

“You cannot defend what you do not love, and you cannot love what you do not know.”