Stingrays inhabit shallow water, especially in the tropics, but in
temperate regions as well. All have a distinctive ray shape, but
coloration may make them hard to spot unless they are swimming. The
venomous, barbed spines in their tails can cause severe or fatal injury.
Rabbitfish are found predominantly on the reefs in the Pacific and
Indian oceans. They average about 30 centimeters (12 inches) long and
have very sharp spines in their fins. The spines are venomous and can
inflict intense pain.
Scorpion fish or zebra fish
Scorpion fish live mainly in the reefs in the Pacific and Indian
oceans. They vary from 30 to 90 centimeters (12 to 35 inches) long, are
usually reddish in coloration, and have long wavy fins and spines. They
inflict an intensely painful sting.
The siganus fish is small, about 10 to 15 centimeters (4 to 6 inches)
long, and looks much like a small tuna. It has venemous spines in its
dorsal and ventral fins. These spines can inflict painful stings.
Stonefish are found in the tropical waters of the Pacific and Indian
oceans. Averaging about 30 centimeters (12 inches) in length, their
subdued colors and lumpy shape provide them with exceptional camouflage.
When stepped on, the fins in the dorsal spine inflict an extremely
painful and sometimes fatal wound.
Tang or surgeonfish
Tang or surgeonfish average 20 to 25 centimeters (8 to 10 inches) in
length, with a deep body, small mouth, and bright coloration. They have
needlelike spines on the side of the tail that cause extremely painful
wounds. This fish is found in all tropical waters.
Toadfish are found in the tropical waters off the coasts of South and
Central America. They are between 17.5 and 25 centimeters (7 to 10
inches) long and have a dull color and large mouths. They bury
themselves in the sand and may be easily stepped on. They have very
sharp, extremely poisonous spines on the dorsal fin (back).
The weever fish is a tropical fish that is fairly slim and about 30
centimeters (12 inches) long. All its fins have venomous spines that
cause a painful wound.
This small octopus is usually found on the Great Barrier Reef off
eastern Australia. It is grayish-white with iridescent blue ringlike
markings. This octopus usually will not bite unless stepped on or
handled. Its bite is extremely poisonous and frequently lethal.
Although it resembles a jellyfish, the Portuguese man-of-war is
actually a colony of sea animals. Mainly found in tropical regions;
however, the Gulf stream current can carry it as far as Europe. It is
also found as far south as Australia. The floating portion of the
man-of-war may be as small as 15 centimeters (6 inches), but the
tentacles can reach 12 meters (40 feet) in length. These tentacles
inflict a painful and incapacitating sting, but it is rarely fatal.
These cone-shaped shells have smooth, colorful mottling and long,
narrow openings in the base of the shell. They live under rocks, in
crevices and coral reefs, and along rocky shores and protected bays in
tropical areas. All have tiny teeth that are similar to hypodermic
needles. They can inject an extremely poisonous venom that acts very
swiftly, causing acute pain, swelling, paralysis, blindness, and
possible death within hours. Avoid handling all cone shells.
These shells are found in both temperate and tropical waters. They
are similar to cone shells but much thinner and longer. They poison in
the same way as cone shells, but their venom is not as poisonous.