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Poisonous red fish: Ciguatera Fish Poisoning: Toxin Test & Symptoms


Fish Poisoning | Johns Hopkins Medicine

At certain times of the year, various species of fish and shellfish contain poisonous biotoxins, even if well cooked. According to the CDC, it is considered an under-recognized risk for travelers, specifically in the tropics and subtropics. 

Certain fish—groupers, barracudas, moray eel, sturgeon, sea bass, red snapper, amberjack, mackerel, parrot fish, surgeonfish, and triggerfish—can cause ciguatera fish poisoning. The CDC recommends never eating moray eel or barracuda. Other types of fish that may contain the toxin at unpredictable times include sea bass and a wide range of tropical reef and warm-water fish. Fish containing these toxins do not look, smell, or taste bad. Cooking, marinating, freezing, or stewing does not destroy the toxin.

The risk of ciguatera poisoning exists in all tropical and subtropical waters of the West Indies, the Pacific Ocean, and the Indian Ocean, where these reef fish are eaten.

Two other forms of poisoning can happen from naturally occurring toxins in fish: tetrodotoxin, sometimes called pufferfish poisoning or fugu poisoning, and scombroid poisoning.

Where is the risk of ciguatera poisoning the greatest?

Reef fish from the tropical and subtropical waters of the West Indies, the Pacific Ocean, and the Indian Ocean pose the greatest threat. Cases have been reported in the United States in Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Florida. A few isolated cases of ciguatera poisoning have even been noted along the eastern seaboard of the United States.

More than 400 species of fish, particularly reef fish, are thought to contain the toxin for ciguatera poisoning.

What are the symptoms of ciguatera poisoning?

Symptoms of ciguatera poisoning generally appear between a few minutes and 6 hours after the toxic fish has been eaten. These include a variety of gastrointestinal, neurological, and cardiovascular abnormalities. The following are the most common symptoms of ciguatera poisoning. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

In more severe cases, the person may suffer muscle pains, dizziness, and sensations of temperature reversal, where hot things seem cold and cold things seem hot. Irregular heart rhythms and low blood pressure may also be experienced. Ciguatera poisoning symptoms typically resolve within several days, but may last up to 4 weeks. The symptoms of ciguatera poisoning may resemble other medical conditions. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

Treatment for ciguatera poisoning

Treatment for ciguatera poisoning involves relieving the symptoms and treating any complications. There is no specific antidote for the toxin itself. Generally, recovery takes from several days to several weeks. 

What is tetrodotoxin?

Tetrodotoxin, also called pufferfish poisoning or fugu poisoning, is a much rarer form of fish poisoning. Yet, it is potentially very serious. This is almost exclusively associated with eating the pufferfish from waters of the Indo-Pacific regions. There have also been several reported cases of poisonings, including fatalities, from pufferfish from the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Gulf of California. Pufferfish poisoning is a continuing problem in Japan.

What are the symptoms of pufferfish poisoning?

Symptoms generally appear between 20 minutes and 3 hours after eating the poisonous pufferfish. The following are the most common symptoms of pufferfish poisoning. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Numbness of lips and tongue

  • Numbness of face and extremities

  • Sensations of lightness or floating

  • Headache

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Abdominal pain

  • Diarrhea

  • Slurred speech

  • Difficulty walking

  • Extensive muscle weakness

  • Convulsions

  • Respiratory distress

  • Mental impairment

  • Cardiac arrhythmia

Death can happen within 4 to 6 hours of poisoning. It is essential to seek immediate medical attention.

Treatment for pufferfish poisoning

Treatment for pufferfish poisoning consists of limiting the body’s absorption of the toxin, relieving symptoms, and treating life-threatening complications. There is no known antidote for tetrodotoxin. 

What is scombrotoxin?

Scombrotoxin, also called scombroid poisoning or histamine poisoning, happens after eating fish that contain high levels of histamine due to improper food handling. It remains one of the most common forms of fish poisoning in the U.S. and worldwide. These fish, which include mahi mahi (dolphin fish), albacore tuna, bluefin and yellowfin tuna, bluefish, mackerel, sardines, anchovy, herring, marlin, amberjack, and abalone, have high amounts of histidine. As a result of inadequate refrigeration or preservation, bacteria convert the histidine to histamine. This leads to scombroid poisoning. Contaminated fish may appear and taste fresh, although some may taste “peppery,” “spicy,” or “bubbly. ” The toxin may form even if the fish has only been temporarily stored at too high a temperature. 

This form of fish poisoning happens worldwide in temperate and tropical waters.

What are the symptoms of scombroid poisoning?

Symptoms generally appear within minutes to an hour after eating affected fish. They typically last 3 hours, but can last several days. The following are the most common symptoms of scombroid poisoning. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Tingling or burning sensations in the mouth

  • Rash on the face and upper body

  • Wheezing or shortness of breath

  • Drop in blood pressure

  • Throbbing headache

  • Hives and itching of skin

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

The symptoms of scombroid poisoning may resemble other medical conditions. Many cases of “fish allergy” are actually scombroid poisoning. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis. 

Treatment for scombroid poisoning

Treatment for scombroid poisoning is generally unnecessary. Symptoms usually resolve within 12 hours and scombroid poisoning is rarely life-threatening. Treatment could include antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine and cimetidine.

Specific treatment for all fish and shellfish poisoning is based on:

  • Your overall health and medical history

  • Extent of the disease

  • Your tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, and therapies

  • Your opinion or preference

Fish Poisoning in Travelers: Ciguatera and Scombroid | Travelers’ Health

Although toxins in fish can be a problem on any dinner table, you may be tempted to try local seafood more often when traveling to a remote ocean paradise. School yourself on these illnesses and protect yourself so you can enjoy your trip

If you believe you are experiencing seafood poisoning, you should report it to the public health department immediately and seek medical care.


You can get ciguatera (sig-wah-TARE-ah) by eating fish contaminated with toxins produced by tiny algae found around coral reefs.

Risk to travelers

Ciguatera is most commonly caused by eating barracuda, moray eel, grouper, amberjack, sea bass, sturgeon, parrot fish, surgeonfish, and red snapper , or fish that are high on the food chain. Because fish are shipped around the world, you can get ciguatera anywhere. The risk is highest in fish from the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific and Indian Oceans. As many as 3 of every 100 travelers to these areas get ciguatera. The eastern Mediterranean and the western Gulf of Mexico are also areas of risk.


Ciguatera symptoms usually develop 3–6 hours after eating contaminated fish but may come as many as 30 hours later. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain. Some people may have a tingling sensation, tooth pain or feeling as if teeth are loose, itching, a metallic taste in the mouth, or blurred vision. Additionally, sometimes people find that cold things feel hot and hot things feel cold. Symptoms usually last a few days but can linger for months or years. There is no way to cure ciguatera, but a doctor may be able to treat the symptoms. After recovering, avoid a relapse by avoiding fish, nuts, alcohol, and caffeine for at least 6 months.


Avoid or limit eating reef fish, including the fish listed above. Especially avoid eating barracuda and moray eel, as they are more likely to cause ciguatera. Do not eat the fish’s liver, intestines, eggs, or head because they have the highest concentration of toxins. The toxins that cause ciguatera do not affect the appearance, taste, or smell of fish, so there is no way to tell if fish is contaminated. The toxins are not destroyed by heat, so even thoroughly cooked fish is a risk.


Scombroid (SKOM-broyd) is caused by eating fish that has not been properly refrigerated or preserved.

Risk to travelers

Scombroid occurs worldwide. Fish typically associated with it include tuna, mackerel, mahi-mahi, sardines, anchovies, herring, bluefish, amberjack, and marlin.


Scombroid symptoms usually develop within a few minutes to an hour after eating contaminated fish. They usually resemble an allergic reaction, such as flushing of the face, headache, heart palpitations, itching, blurred vision, cramps, and diarrhea. Symptoms can be treated with antihistamines (allergy medicine). Even without treatment, people usually get better within 12–48 hours.


Contaminated fish may taste peppery, sharp, metallic, or bitter or might look and taste normal. Keep in mind that cooking the fish does not prevent scombroid.

Shellfish Poisoning

Toxins in contaminated shellfish such as mussels, oysters, clams, scallops, cockles, abalone, whelks, moon snails, Dungeness crab, shrimp, and lobster can cause illness when eaten.

Risk to travelers

Contaminated shellfish can be found in temperate and tropical waters worldwide during or after algae blooms. Different shellfish poisoning syndromes (such as paralytic, diarrheic, amnesic, and neurotoxic) are associated with shellfish from distinct geographical regions. Make sure to tell your doctor if you’ve traveled and you think you may have shellfish poisoning.


Symptoms usually appear 30–60 minutes after eating contaminated shellfish, but it could be a few hours before you start to feel sick. Symptoms vary based on the type of toxin in the shellfish and can include numbness and tingling, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and memory loss. Severe cases can be fatal.


The toxins that cause these symptoms can’t be destroyed by cooking, so the best way to avoid illness is to not eat shellfish. If you’re visiting an area that’s recently experienced an algae bloom, sometimes called “red tide” or “brown tide,” it is especially important to avoid eating shellfish.


There is no specific treatment for shellfish poisoning.

More Information

Food Poisoning from Marine Toxins

Harmful Algal Bloom-Associated Illness


Acadian Redfish | NOAA Fisheries

About The Species

Acadian redfish, also called ocean perch, is the only fish in the rockfish/ocean perch family in the Atlantic, compared to the more than 50 Sebastes species in the Pacific. The fish is called redfish in New England and Canada, but is not to be confused with redfish from the Gulf of Mexico (which is a drum). Acadian redfish are harvested year-round but harvests are usually largest during spring and summer in the Gulf of Maine.

Population Level

Above target population level.

Fishing Status

At recommended level.

Habitat Impacts

Area closures and gear restrictions protect habitat that are affected by some kinds of trawl gear.


Regulations are in place to minimize bycatch.


  • According to the 2017 stock assessment, Acadian redfish are not overfished and are not subject to overfishing. Summary stock assessment information can be found on Stock SMART.


  • Acadian redfish are orange to flame red, with paler underbellies.
  • They have a flattened body that is longer than it is deep.
  • They have large eyes and a large mouth lined with many small teeth.
  • They have one continuous dorsal fin that runs from the nape of their neck to their caudal peduncle (where the body meets the tail) and a small tail fin.
  • Young redfish are marked with patches of black and green pigment. They don’t develop their red pigment until after they move to the ocean bottom.


  • Acadian redfish are slow-growing, long-lived fish.
  • Redfish can grow up to 18 to 20 inches long and live 50 years or more.
  • They mature at a late age (5 to 6 years) and have low reproductive rates.
  • They mate in late autumn and early winter.
  • Redfish give birth to live young (an unusual feature for fish), and fertilization, incubation, and hatching of eggs all occur within the female’s body.
  • Eggs are not fertilized until spring and then incubate for 45 to 60 days. Females release their hatched larvae from late spring through July and August.
  • Females generally produce between 15,000 and 20,000 larvae per spawning cycle.
  • Newly hatched redfish can swim well at birth and are soon able to forage for plankton (tiny floating plants and animals).
  • Their survival rate is relatively high compared with that of egg-laying fish.
  • Young redfish stay in the upper waters feeding on small crustaceans until they are about 2 inches long.
  • In the fall, the young settle to the ocean bottom.
  • Older redfish feed on larger invertebrates and small fish.

Where They Live

  • Acadian redfish are found in the Atlantic Ocean from the coast of Norway to Georges Bank.


  • We manage a single stock of Acadian redfish in U.S. waters.
  • NOAA Fisheries and the New England Fishery Management Council manage the fishery.
  • Redfish, along with other groundfish in New England waters, are managed under the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan, which includes:
    • Permitting requirements for commercial vessels.
    • Separate management measures for recreational vessels.
    • Time/Area Closures to protect spawning fish and habitat.
    • Minimum fish sizes to prevent harvest of juvenile fish.
    • Annual catch limits, based on best available science.
    • An optional sector (catch share) program can be used for cod and other groundfish species. The sector program allows fishermen to form harvesting cooperatives and work together to decide when, where, and how they harvest fish.

How To Avoid Ciguatera Poisoning

Guest fishing writer Nick Philippa shares his research on ciguatera poisoning and interviews Ryan Moody who had a bout of it back in 1997.

For years I’ve heard all about the ciguatera toxin and ciguatera poisoning and I really thought I knew what it was until I started research for this article.

Turns out I had a pretty good understanding but I wasn’t aware of just how many fish species are potential carriers and how often people are afflicted with this illness.

In 2014 in Townsville over 33 people had known cases of ciguatera, all from Spanish mackerel, and reportedly from one commercial seafood supplier.

So what exactly is ciguatera poisoning and equally as important, how can you avoid it?

Ciguatera is a type of food poisoning; larger predatory fish such as Spanish mackerel eat smaller fish that have an algae based diet. A particular miniscule organism called a dinoflagellate (I know, say that with a mouth full of marbles!) attaches itself to algae which in turn is eaten by the smaller fish then particular predatory fish prey on the smaller fish, and not just Spanish mackerel.

The ciguatera toxin

Ciguatera is a toxin, with symptoms known to commence anywhere from an hour to 24 hours after consumption. The symptoms range from stomach cramps and diarrhoea to difficulty breathing. Courtesy of the Queensland Health Department, a full list of the symptoms is:
• Tingling and numbness in fingers, toes, around lips, tongue, mouth and throat
• A burning sensation or skin pain on contact with cold water
• Joint and muscle pains with muscular weakness
• nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and/or abdominal cramps
• headache, fatigue and fainting
• extreme itchiness, often worsened by drinking alcohol
• difficulty breathing in severe cases

Although not listed by Queensland Health in the documents I found, several other sources also list temporary blindness and in extreme cases cardiac failure (death).

Fish carriers of ciguatera

What fish are known carriers? Well the highest risk fish are now in Queensland’s no-take species, red bass, paddletail and chinaman.

The carriers that are still able to be taken are Spanish mackerel, red emperor (yep that one shocked me too), coral cod, coral trout, trevally, yellowtail kingfish and some lesser known species like wrasse and surgeonfish (which are both known algae eaters). When snorkelling or SCUBA diving you can often hear various wrasse and surgeon fish chewing into coral, they are eating the algae from the coral.

Moray eels are apparently carriers of the most concentrated levels of the toxin.

Depending on what articles and fact sheets you read, you shouldn’t eat Spanish mackerel (for example) over 12kg, 14kg, or 20kg. In one recent instance one angler claimed to have ciguatera symptoms after eating an 8kg Spanish mackerel! One thing you can be sure of is that the larger the Spanish mackerel, the more risk that they have high levels of the toxin as it accumulates in the body – so larger fish end up with more.

According to some researchers, the amount of toxin in the gonads, roe and liver can be up to 50 times greater than an equivalent amount of muscle.

The best place for a chinaman fish is….

Over the side.

Ciguatera hot spots

In Australia almost all ciguatera poisoning has occurred from fish caught in Queensland or the Northern Territory; however, the most extensive ciguatera poisoning incident in Australia took place in Sydney in 1987, when 63 people became affected following the consumption of Spanish mackerel from the Hervey Bay region of Queensland.

The highest human mortality rate from ciguatera poisoning (20%) is attributed to the consumption of a shark (Carcharhinus amboinensis) on the east coast of Madagascar. In that incident 500 unfortunate diners were poisoned and 98 subsequently died (Donati A.C. 2006, Fishnote #41, Northern Territory Government).

Interestingly, ciguatera poisoning is virtually unheard of in Western Australia, so the toxin seems particularly location dependent.

How to avoid ciguatera

The easiest way to avoid ciguatera is not to eat large pelagic and tropical reef fish, particularly those mentioned above.

Alternatively eat only small portions of any one fish and avoid eating flesh from the same fish over successive days.

One method of keeping track is to place all the fillets from any potential carrier into the one zip lock or cryovac bag or number them accordingly. For example, since doing this research I now name my zip lock bags with the fish species and the date. Not only is that handy when diving into the freezer to find something to cook, I also number each individual fish from that trip. It sounds excessive maybe but if anyone develops symptoms, I won’t have to look through my freezer to find all the coral trout fillets for example, instead I can throw out that one bag with the remaining fillets.

Unfortunately there is no easy way to tell a carrier and could be why sailors in the old days fed fish first to the ships cat!

Personally I take trevally to 5kg for hot smoking, coral trout to 5kg and Spanish mackerel to around 14kg and I’ve never had any problems. I eat a lot of fish and touch wood I never get the symptoms.

As the toxin is more concentrated in certain body parts, avoid eating the liver, roe, head or viscera of any tropical marine fish.

Something I didn’t know is that renowned barramundi guide, Fish Smarter owner and Barra Basics co-creator Ryan Moody suffered from a very bad case of ciguatera, so much so that he now only eats inshore fish. I asked Ryan about his experience and let’s just say it doesn’t sound like a fun day out.

Ryan Moody knows first hand, ciguatera poisoning is not fun!

In 1997 Ryan was installing an air-conditioner with his dad and then got fish and chips for dinner. On this particular night it was a larger Spanish mackerel reportedly around 15kg. After eating at 8pm Ryan woke up at 2am, feeling itchy and hot all over. Everyone who had eaten the same fish was experiencing the same symptoms.

Ryan tried to drive to hospital but part way through the trip he lost all feeling in his legs and feet. He lost the ability to use the accelerator or brakes. Fortunately in a sense Ryan was experiencing the worst symptoms, probably due to his time on charter boats on the reef and years of reef fish consumption, notably large coral trout and Spanish mackerel.

The author with a red bass. Red bass are a known ciguatera carrier and a no-take species in
Queensland. Red bass are often mistaken for mangrove jacks (often
referred to as reef jacks and red bream).

Ryan’s dad took over as driver, upon reaching the hospital he was informed that the only known treatment was antihistamines, of note is that ciguatera wasn’t as well researched back then.

Antihistamines had no effect and Ryan was told to just wait. After two weeks lying in bed almost paralysed the family did some research and found an article about a Fijian who was so badly affected with ciguatera they flew him to Brisbane. During the journey they gave him a saline drip and he almost instantly recovered and was able to walk off the plane.

After reading this Ryan went straight to a doctor and requested a saline drip, after only half an hour he could feel a noticeable improvement and was able to leave unassisted. The symptoms returned about eight hours later but were less intense.

Ryan has since learned that ciguatera does not allow fluids you drink to pass through the kidneys, so urination doesn’t occur. However as the saline drip is fed straight into the bloodstream it can flush the toxin. Let’s just say that after the saline drip, Ryan had a prolonged bathroom break!

For quite some time Ryan was unable to touch anything cold because it felt like a cold burn. Also he had to have someone test the shower temperature as he burned himself twice after not being able to feel heat properly. The toxin affects the nervous symptom, so Ryan also experienced pins and needles and burning lips almost constantly. Possibly worse, Ryan had a strange pulling sensation in his spinal cord that felt like someone was playing tug of war with it.

In total Ryan was sick for approximately nine weeks, and then took another eight weeks to recover lost muscle strength. Ryan still has difficulty feeling extremes in both hot and cold. Ryan was unable to eat fish, caffeine, alcohol or any other stimulants as the doctor told him it could bring back the symptoms.

So folks if there’s one take home message in this post, it’s to do your best to avoid potential ciguatera carriers. It’s not worth the risk keeping larger sizes of known carriers.

I hope the tips in this article have helped you understand ciguatera a bit more and hopefully you start writing on your freezer bags! Happy fishing.

Cheers Nick Philippa

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As always we would love to hear your views and experience you may have had with ciguatera poisoning, or any insights you’d like to add below in the comments.

If you enjoyed this tip and would like to see more, plus go in the draw to win a barra charter, enter your name and email to receive fortnightly fishing tips directly from Ryan Moody.


10 of the World’s Most Dangerous Fish

Piranha, also called caribe or piraya, are any of more than 60 species of razor-toothed carnivorous fish of South American rivers and lakes, with a somewhat exaggerated reputation for ferocity. In movies such as Piranha (1978), the piranha has been depicted as a ravenous indiscriminate killer. Most species, however, are scavengers or feed on plant material.
Most species of piranha never grow larger than 60 cm (2 feet) long. Colors vary from silvery with orange undersides to almost completely black. These common fishes have deep bodies, saw-edged bellies, and large, generally blunt heads with strong jaws bearing sharp, triangular teeth that meet in a scissorlike bite.
Piranhas range from northern Argentina to Colombia, but they are most diverse in the Amazon River, where 20 different species are found. The most infamous is the red-bellied piranha (Pygocentrus nattereri), with the strongest jaws and sharpest teeth of all. Especially during low water, this species, which can grow up to 50 cm (about 20 inches) in length, hunts in groups that can number more than 100. Several groups can converge in a feeding frenzy if a large animal is attacked, although this is rare. Red-bellied piranhas prefer prey that is only slightly larger than themselves or smaller. Generally, a group of red-bellied piranhas spreads out to look for prey. When located, the attacking scout signals the others. This is probably done acoustically, as piranhas have excellent hearing. Everyone in the group rushes in to take a bite and then swims away to make way for the others.
The lobetoothed piranha (P. denticulate), which is found primarily in the basin of the Orinoco River and the tributaries of the lower Amazon, and the San Francisco piranha (P. piraya), a species native to the San Francisco River in Brazil, are also dangerous to humans. Most species of piranhas, however, never kill large animals, and piranha attacks on people are rare. Although piranhas are attracted to the smell of blood, most species scavenge more than they kill. Some 12 species called wimple piranhas (genus Catoprion) survive solely on morsels nipped from the fins and scales of other fishes, which then swim free to heal completely.

Warning for seafood lovers: Beware of toxic fish

ESTERO, FL – When you think of what can hurt you in the ocean, chances are sharks come to mind.  But a more likely threat to your health is something that you can’t see: tiny toxins found on algae called ciguatoxins.

Researchers are Florida Gulf Coast University in Estero have been taking a close look at ciguatoxins, which can make you sick, and in rare cases be deadly.

FGCU Marine Science professor Dr. Michael Parsons tells 4 In Your Corner he’s done a theoretical calculation to give an idea of just how toxic we’re talking.  “If you had purified ciguatoxin, you would need, say, just 150 pounds of it to kill everybody on the planet,” says Parsons.

But that’s purely theoretical, so don’t worry about ciguatoxins becoming the world’s next biological weapon anytime soon.

The toxins occur in nature in microscopic amounts. Even so, they can pack a punch – especially as they accumulate in fish.

The algae that contain the toxins are eaten by small reef fish, which are then eaten by larger fish, that are eventually eaten by humans.  The larger and older the fish is, the more ciguatoxins it’s likely to contain.  And if you eat an infected fish, you could get ciguatera.

“Ciguatera is a form of seafood poisoning that’s caused by toxins that accumulate in fish,” says Dr. Parsons.

The Florida Department of Health’s website has this to say about ciguatera: “Over 400 known fish species have been classified as potential ciguatoxin carriers. Examples of species associated with Florida cases include barracuda, grouper, amberjack, snapper, tuna, kingfish, eel, trevally (jack), seabass, mackerel, hogfish, and mahi-mahi. Cooking fish does not kill the heat-stable toxin. Ciguatoxic fish do not carry a foul odor or taste.”

“There’s no way we know of yet to remove the toxin from fish tissue,” says Dr. Parsons.

For many people who get the sickness, the initial – and sometimes the only – symptom is gastrointestinal distress similar to food poisoning.  But it can get much worse from there.  “It’s a neurotoxin, so it’ll affect neurons in your brain,” says FGCU marine science researcher Adam Catasus.

That effect on your brain could take many forms: shooting pain, confusion, hallucinations, numbness, uncontrollable itching, painful ejaculation and a strange sensation in your mouth.  “Your teeth may feel loose and kind of jiggling,” says Dr. Parsons.

Another bizarre symptom is known as “temperature reversal”, where your brain and body mistake hot for cold and vice versa.  “Whenever you drink cold water or soda, you might feel like your esophagus is burning,” says Catasus.

“If you touch something hot, it might feel freezing cold,” he adds.

Dr. Parsons says he gets emails and calls from people who’ve been struggling with the symptoms long after they ate infected fish.  “There are cases of symptoms lasting years.” says Dr. Parsons who explains some patients notice the symptoms disappear and then reappear when triggered by something as simple as a glass of wine.  “But there is no cure,” he says.

The Centers for Disease Control’s website gives the following information on how many people get sick with ciguatera each year and where the cases are reported:  “More than 50,000 cases of ciguatera poisoning occur globally every year. The incidence in travelers to highly endemic areas has been estimated as high as 3 per 100. Ciguatera is widespread in tropical and subtropical waters, usually between the latitudes of 35°N and 35°S; it is particularly common in the Pacific and Indian Oceans and the Caribbean Sea. The incidence and geographic distribution of ciguatera poisoning are increasing. Newly recognized areas of risk include the Canary Islands, the eastern Mediterranean, and the western Gulf of Mexico.”

Fish that are most likely to cause ciguatera poisoning are carnivorous reef fish, including barracuda, grouper, moray eel, amberjack, sea bass, or sturgeon. Omnivorous and herbivorous fish such as parrot fish, surgeonfish, and red snapper can also be a risk.”

The most severe symptoms from ciguatera can occur right after you’ve eaten contaminated fish.  The symptoms are rare but serious: a dangerous drop in blood pressure and slowing of the heartbeat.

“Ciguatoxin can be fatal if it’s a high enough dose,” says Dr. Parsons.

Last year, a British woman’s case of ciguatera made national headlines after she died just ten minutes after being taken to the hospital.  She had eaten cooked grouper on her honeymoon in Mexico.

Dr. Parsons told Fox 4 about one of the few surveys done in Florida.  “Based on the survey results, they determined about a 1000 people a year in Florida get sick with Ciguatera,” says Dr. Parsons.

But he also tells Fox 4 it’s difficult to tell which of those cases came from Florida fish.  “A fish that (can be) caught in Fiji and be served in a restaurant here in Fort Myers or Naples,” says Dr. Parsons.  

“There is no way to test if the fish has toxin.  Over 80% of our seafood is imported and who knows?” says Parsons.

Another unknown that’s got the researchers’ attention is whether we’ll see more ciguatera because of two key factors affecting our coastal waters: “Sea level rise and sea temperatures changing, it might (make it) become more prevalent in Florida,” says Catasus.

Fox 4 asked Dr. Parsons if it’s possible to catch fish with ciguatoxins off the coast of Southwest Florida.  “To be determined,” he answered.

For now the researchers’ best advice is to be cautious and know that size matters.  “If the fish is bigger and older, it’s been in the food web longer, and it’s been able to accumulate more toxin,” says Catasus whose friend made a video of some their spearfishing adventures in which they catch fish and cut open their bellies to check for the presence of the algae (known as Gambierdiscus) that may contain the toxins.

Dr. Parsons says there’s one fish that often poses risk and has been linked to numerous cases of sickness and even death.  “The best way to avoid ciguatera fish poisoning is not eat large barracuda,” he says while offering a general guideline on how to judge a “big” barracuda: “Bigger than your forearm,” he says.

“Those will be more likely,” to have ciguatoxins he says.  “You’re probably talking 20% up to 50% chance,” more likely he adds.

And though the chances of poisoning are lower in other common species, there’s quite a list of those known to cause problems.  “Other fish that have gotten people sick are amberjack, hogfish and grouper,” says Catasus.

Dr. Parsons says many of the reported Florida cases of ciguatera were linked to grouper — not because it’s more toxic, but rather because it’s so widely eaten.

The team definitely advises against eating fish organs which tend to have concentrated toxins.  “In the Indian Ocean people have died from eating shark brains, or shark livers,” says Dr. Parsons.

But the researchers are say they don’t want to be “the boy scientists who cried wolf,” as Dr. Parsons put it, and were careful to let local fish eaters they shouldn’t panic.  “I would say they do not need to give up seafood,” says Dr. Parsons.

“The fish in Florida are generally safe,” he says.

And they’re taking their own advice.  “Hogfish is my favorite, and I’ll still eat it,” says Dr. Parsons, who notes hogfish is on the list of fish that ‘s been linked ciguatera cases.

“I still eat fish,” says Catasus.  “I love seafood,” he adds with a smile.

Both Catasus and Dr. Parsons recommend keeping an eye out for any FDA advisories that report ciguatera cases.  For example, advisories were issued for fish from Florida Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in the Gulf after cases were reported in the past.

A quick search of the internet will show you cases have been reported in Florida over the years too.

And the researchers at FGCU are hoping their work will help us all learn more about this toxin before it can hurt anyone else.  “The main goal to keep an eye out,” says Catasus.  “And just try to help people not get sick.”

Links on Ciguatera:

FGCU Study of Ciguatera
Ciguatera Warning from Florida Department of Health
Ciguatera & Climate Change Report –  National Institutes of Health
Centers for Disease Control Information on Ciguatera

Sexually Transmitted Food Poisoning? A Fish Toxin Could Be To Blame : The Salt : NPR

Beware of the big guys: Red snappers from tropical waters sometimes accumulate high levels of the toxin that causes ciguatera. Go for the smaller fish to avoid it.

Kamel Adjenef/iStockphoto

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Kamel Adjenef/iStockphoto

Beware of the big guys: Red snappers from tropical waters sometimes accumulate high levels of the toxin that causes ciguatera. Go for the smaller fish to avoid it.

Kamel Adjenef/iStockphoto

Twenty-five years ago, two pals went out for a seafood dinner while vacationing in the Bahamas. What could be better than some fresh grouper steaks and a night on the town without the wives?

Um, plenty.

A few hours after dinner, the men started having stomach pains and diarrhea. Their legs began to tingle and burn. And their sense of temperature went haywire: Ice felt hot while fire felt cool.

All the while, their wives were completely fine — until they had sex with their hubbies.

The men had ingested a potent fish toxin, a team of doctors wrote at the time in the journal Clinical Toxicology. And they had passed the poison along to their wives through their semen, the doctors hypothesized. For several weeks, the women had terrible pain and burning in their pelvis.

With fish now imported to the U.S. from all over the world, the toxin has since appeared outside its endemic tropical regions — in Vermont, North Carolina and New York. Some researchers are now worrying that warming seas could make the poison even more common.

The toxin causes the strange foodborne illness, known as ciguatera fish poisoning. The molecules open little holes in nerves, triggering an array of crazy symptoms: reversal of how you experience temperature, vertigo and the sensation that your teeth are falling out.

“Patients find the symptoms of ciguatera so strange,” says neuropsychologist Melissa Friedman, who treats patients for the toxin at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami. “I have heard people say they wake up and step on a cold floor and have a burning or uncomfortable sensation.”

And then there’s dyspareunia, otherwise known as painful sex.

This symptom isn’t commonly reported, possibly because “it’s information people don’t normally volunteer to their doctors,” Friedman tells The Salt.

But since the two men in the Bahamas first reported a link between dyspareunia and ciguatera in 1989, a few others have also had the unfortunate symptom. For instance, six of nine people who got the fish poisoning from eating amberjack in North Carolina in 2007 complained of painful intercourse, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. (The Bahamas cases, so far, have been the only ones in which sexual transmission was suspected.)

The toxin can also cause hallucinations or “giddiness,” Friedman says, if the fish came from the Pacific or Indian Oceans.

Although ciguatera is new to most people, poisonings are fairly common in tropical and subtropical regions, Friedman says. “In South Florida, ciguatera is considered endemic. It’s not foreign to our emergency rooms here.” (The CDC says it gets reports of about 30 cases of poisoning by marine toxins, including ciguatera, each year in the U.S.)

The ciguatoxin is produced by a single-celled protozoan that sticks to algae on tropical reefs. The poison then moves up the food chain and eventually accumulates in large, predator fish, such as red snapper, grouper, amberjack and barracuda — species that also happen to be quite tasty.

There’s no cure for the poisoning. One treatment can reduce the symptoms, but it must be given within three days of ingestion. Otherwise, just a few bites from an infected filet, and you may be stuck with the strange neurological problems — and a restrained sex life — for a few weeks, Friedman says.

So what can you do avoid this nasty toxin?

Don’t order the red snapper or grouper caught in areas associated with ciguatera outbreaks, she recommends. “You can’t detect the toxin by smell or sight. So you really don’t know when you’re eating it.”

Plus, you can’t cook, clean or freeze the toxin away from the fish. “That’s what’s so frustrating about the illness,” she says. “It doesn’t occur because of improper cooking, storing or fish handling.”

And when you do eat fin fish that hang around coral reefs, Friedman says, go for the smaller ones, less than about 3 pounds. Or eat a limited portion.

“If you think you have ciguatera fish poisoning, try to save a piece of the fish,” she adds. “Then you can send it into the Food and Drug Administration for testing.”

At least then you might have a better chance of finding out if your dinner is to blame for an unwelcome interruption of your sex life.

90,000 Top 10 Most Poisonous Fish

I was recently invited to go fishing in the Mediterranean. I must say that I am not a fisherman at all and even a little bit not a fisherman, but I love active rest, so I gladly agreed.
As usual, the beginner’s bonus I got in full, pecked and caught all sorts of fish, among them sea bass, sea bream, possessing less than 500 grams, very large fish were not caught. Having heard stories about the poisonousness of some species of fish, I carefully perceived each caught specimen, observing safety measures.And as usual, I decided to share this topic with readers.

Inhabitants of the seabed are sometimes not as harmless as they seem. Many quite cute and bright fish have sharp teeth, or even thorns or thorns, an injection of which can be fatal to humans. So, 10 most poisonous fish.

1 Stonefish

Outwardly, she really looks like a stone: her whole body is covered with brown growths, which is why this poisonous fish is very difficult to notice at the bottom.The stone fish itself is never the first to attack a person, but if you accidentally touch it, it will hit you with its poisonous thorns, of which there are 13 pieces on its body. In this case, you need to immediately consult a doctor – if the poison immediately enters some large artery, death may occur in 2-3 hours. By the way, the popular resorts of Thailand and Egypt are full of these fish …

2 Dog-fish (aka puffer, puffer, puffer, four-toothed)

Belongs to the blowfish family.Her poison is in the skin and in the internal organs. Among the eastern peoples, it is considered a delicacy, but we would still not recommend trying it – this taste is hardly worth your life. The poison is nerve agent, and no antidote has yet been found. The habitat of the puffer is tropical and subtropical seas, but it can also be found in Russia: Peter the Great Bay to Sakhalin. She usually swims at a depth of 100 m, and grows in length no more than 50 cm.

3 Lionfish (zebra fish)

Inhabits the coral reefs of the Indian and Pacific Oceans.It has a bright and beautiful color that resembles a zebra, from where it got its name. She has very beautiful fins that flutter in the water like wings, but it is on this beauty that poisonous needles are located. With an injection of at least one of them, convulsions may occur, the work of the heart may be disrupted, or even gangrene may occur in the area of ​​the injection. With several people, he falls into shock and loses consciousness.

4 Great Sea Dragon

A species of predatory ray-finned fish of the dragon family, a detachment of perchiformes, living in the coastal waters of the European Atlantic, as well as in the Black and Mediterranean Seas.
The injection, as a rule, is not fatal, but it causes extremely severe pain, edema, necrosis of the affected area. In severe cases, paralysis, respiratory and hemodynamic disorders are observed.

5 Inimicus

The prick of inimicus spines is not inferior in danger to the bite of a viper. These fish live on coral reefs or in the coastal zone of tropical seas, and are also found in temperate waters, for example, off the coast of Japan, where they are eaten as a delicacy.

6 Sea bass

There are about 110 species of sea bass in the genus.The dorsal fin bears 13-15 hard and sharp spiny rays; the operculum has spines.
When prickly rays of sea bass are pricked, after a few minutes, severe pain and an inflammatory reaction develop at the site of the lesion. The poison is drained by the lymphatic system, lymphadenitis and lymphangitis develop. Edema, which is localized first at the injection site, then can spread to the hand and even the forearm.

7 Sea ruff (scorpion fish)

This fish has an interesting color, thanks to which it can easily disguise itself in rocks or algae.Scorpion’s venom glands are found on the fins and throughout the body. Simply by stepping on fish while swimming, you can get a significant dose of poison. The habitat of the sea ruff is the Japanese, Black Sea and some warm latitudes of the world ocean.

8 Stingray stingray

The fish, which lives exclusively at the bottom, is insidious because it cannot be seen by divers, although it can reach 2 m in length. An injection of her tail is extremely dangerous, and not only because of its pain: a dose of poison is released through the needle, and if the injection occurs in the region of the heart, death will occur almost instantly.This is how the famous crocodile hunter Stee Irwin died.

9 Katran barbed shark

A dangerous fish with a perfect body shape. The body length is 100-220 cm, and the body weight is about 25 kg. You can meet katrana in the East Atlantic, Black and Mediterranean Seas. She has needles on her back that can hurt just as much as sharp teeth, and her venom leads to swelling and suppuration at the injection site.

10 Arab surgeon

Marine ray-finned fish of the perchiformes family of surgeons.Behind the tail, on each side, there is a small orange speck – there is a razor-sharp thorn. Be careful, this Arabian surgeon’s weapon is poisonous! When injured, the person experiences severe pain for about an hour. To neutralize it, rinse the wound with hot water.

90,000 Poisonous fish. Descriptions, features and names of poisonous fish

Poisonous fish in the world of about 600 species. Of these, 350 are active. The apparatus with the toxin is given to those from birth. The rest of the fish are secondarily poisonous.The toxicity of these is associated with nutrition. Eating certain fish, crustaceans, molluscs, secondary species accumulate their poison in certain organs or the whole body.

Primary poisonous fish

Poisonous fish of the category have toxin-producing glands. The poison enters the bodies of victims through a bite, puncture with special spines or rays of fins. Often, attacks are directed at the offenders. That is, evolutionarily fish began to produce poison for protection.

Sea Dragons

Poisonous fish species include 9 of their names.All live in the waters of the temperate climatic zone and do not exceed 45 centimeters in length. Dragons belong to the perch-like.

The spine on the operculum and the axis of the dorsal fin is filled with poison in the dragons. Toxin is a complex protein. It disrupts the functioning of the circulatory and nervous systems. Snake venom has the same effect. It is similar in nature to sea dragon toxin.

For people, their poison is not fatal, but it causes severe pain, burning, and leads to tissue edema.Dragon meat is edible and is considered a delicacy.

Poisonous dragons from the Black Sea


These poisonous fish of the sea are stingrays, that is, they have flattened and large pectoral fins. They are diamond shaped. The tail of a stingray is always finless, but often has an acicular outgrowth. It is them that the stingrays attack. They, like other rays, are the closest relatives of sharks. Accordingly, stingrays do not have a skeleton.Bones are replaced by cartilage.

There are 80 species of stalkers in the seas. Their toxicity is different. The most powerful poison is the blue-spotted ray.

Blue-spotted stingray is the most poisonous of the stingray

One percent of the people pricked by it die. The number of victims per year is equal to thousands. On the coasts of North America, for example, at least 7 hundred cases of stingray attacks are recorded every 12 months. Their venom has a neurotropic effect, affecting the nervous system.Toxin causes instant, burning pain

There are freshwater stingrays among them. One of the species lives, for example, in the Amazon. Since ancient times, the Indians living on its shores have made poisoned arrowheads, daggers, spears from fish thorns.

Sea lionfish

Belong to the scorpion family. Externally, lionfish are distinguished by enlarged pectoral fins. They go behind the anal, resembling wings. Lionfish are also distinguished by pronounced needles in the dorsal fin.There are thorns on the head of the fish. Each needle contains poison. However, after removing the thorns, lionfish, like other scorpion fish, can be eaten.

The spectacular appearance of lionfish is the reason for their aquarium keeping. Their small size also allows you to admire the fish at home. You can choose from almost 20 species of lionfish. The total number of scorpion species is 100. Lionfish in it are one of the genera.

Despite the poisonousness of lionfish, they are often brought up in aquariums because of their spectacular appearance.

The most poisonous fish among lionfish is the wart.Otherwise, it is called a stone. The name is associated with the disguise of the wart under sea corals, sponges. The fish is speckled with growths, bumps, thorns. The latter are poisonous. The toxin causes paralysis, but there is an antidote.

If one is not at hand, the injection site is heated as much as possible, for example, by dipping it into hot water or substituting it under a hair dryer. This relieves pain by partially destroying the protein structure of the venom.

Wart or fish stone master of disguise

Sea bass

This is a genus of fish.There are 110 species of fish in it. All belong to the scorpion. Like river bass, fish are distinguished by spiked dorsal fins. There are 13-15 axes in them. The spines are also present on the operculums. There is poison in the thorns.

When injected, it enters the wound along with the mucus covering the gills and fins of the perch. The toxin is carried through the lymphatic system, causing lymphadenitis. This is an enlargement of the lymph nodes. This is how the immune system responds to poison.

Pain and swelling rapidly develop at the site of the stabbing of the sea bass. However, the fish toxin is unstable, destroyed by alkalis, ultraviolet light and heating.The venom of perch from the Barents Sea is especially weak. The most toxic are Pacific specimens. If several poison is injected into one person, respiratory arrest is possible.

Sea bass


This is a venomous shark. The predator weighs about 30 kilograms and does not exceed 2.2 meters in length. The katran is found in the Atlantic, and is also included in the poisonous fish of the Black Sea .

Katrana toxin is a heterogeneous, that is, heterogeneous, protein.It is produced by the glands of the thorn located in front of the dorsal fin. The injection leads to severe pain, redness, burns. Itching persists for several hours. The burn goes away for a couple of days.

The Katran represents the spiny shark family. The toxicity of other species has not been proven, but it is assumed. Many spiny sharks are difficult to study. The black species, for example, deep, is found in the Atlantic Ocean.

Katran is the only representative of sharks living in the Black Sea

Arab surgeon

Represents the family of surgeons.It belongs to the order of perchiformes. Therefore, the poison of fish is similar to the toxin of sea bass, it is destroyed by heat. However, the appearance of the surgeon is far from that of his relatives.

The body of the fish is strongly flattened laterally, high. The surgeon’s tail fin is crescent-shaped. The color varies depending on the species. Most surgeons are variegated, with bright streaks and spots.

There are 80 species of fish in the family of surgeons. Each has sharp spines under and above the tail. They resemble scalpels.The name of the fish is associated with this. They rarely exceed 40 centimeters in length, which makes it possible to keep animals in the aquarium.

The Arabian surgeon is the most aggressive member of the family; it is included in the poisonous fish of the Red Sea . There, the animal often attacks divers, scuba divers.

Fish named for surgeons because of the scalpel-like pelvic fin

Secondary poisonous fish

Secondary poisonous fish accumulate saxitoxin.It is not a protein, but an alkaloid that belongs to purine compounds. Plankton dinoflagellates and many molluscs contain venom. They are supposed to get the toxin from unicellular algae, and those from water, accumulating the substance under certain conditions.


This is a family of fish. Its most poisonous representative is a dog. An alternative name is fugu. Poisonous fish is distinguished by a shortened body, a wide, flattened back and a wide head with a beak-like mouth.

It contains 4 plates of teeth fused together. With them, puffer splits crab shells and clam shells. By eating the latter, the fish receives the toxin. It is deadly, accumulates in the liver of the dog.

Despite its toxicity, puffer is eaten. We need fish preparation, in particular, removal of liver, caviar, skin. They are saturated with poison. The dish is popular in Japan, which is associated with some excesses.

So, in Gamagori, for example, a case was recorded of one of the local supermarkets selling 5 packages of whole fish.The liver and caviar were not removed. The toxin in each fish is enough to kill 30 people.

Photo of poisonous fish often shows them in bloated form. The dog looks like a ball at the moment of fright. The fugu draws in water or air, depending on the environment. The increase in size should scare away predators. With people, the “trick” rarely goes away.

At the moment of fright, the puffer swells, exposing thorns

conger eels

These poisonous fish of the ocean choose tropical waters, reaching almost 3 meters in length there.Sometimes eels eat shellfish, which eat peridinium. These are flagellates. The phenomenon of red tides is associated with them.

Due to the accumulation of crustaceans, the ocean waters turn red. At the same time, many fish die, but eels have adapted to the poison. It is simply deposited in the skin and organs of moray eels.

Poisoning with eel meat is fraught with itching, numbness of the legs, tongue, diarrhea and difficulty swallowing. At the same time, the taste of metal is felt in the mouth. About 10% of those poisoned are paralyzed with subsequent death.

conger eel


The family includes tuna, mackerel, horse mackerel, bonito. They are all edible. Tuna is considered a delicacy. In poisonous fish of the world mackerel “are recorded” being stale. Meat contains histidine.

This is an amino acid. It is found in many proteins. When fish are kept warm for a long time, bacteria develop that convert histidine to saurin. It is a histamine-like substance. The body’s reaction to it is similar to a severe allergy.

Poisoned mackerel meat can be identified by its spicy, burning taste. After eating meat, after a few minutes a person begins to suffer from a headache. Further, the mouth dries up, it becomes difficult to swallow, the heart begins to beat faster. In the final, red stripes appear on the skin. They are itchy. Poisoning is accompanied by diarrhea.

Mackerel venom is expressed in the consumption of not fresh fish meat


This red fish is poisonous due to the vizigi – a chord made of dense fabric.It replaces the spine of a fish. Viziga resembles a cord. It is composed of cartilage and connective tissue. The combination is harmless as long as the fish is fresh. Moreover, viziga spoils faster than sterlet meat. Therefore, cartilage can only be consumed on the first day after catching the fish.

Not only the screech can spoil the meal, but also the gallbladder of the sterlet bursting during evisceration. The content of the organ gives the meat a bitter taste. Possibly upset stomach.

Sterlet fish

Under certain conditions and nutrition, almost 300 species of fish become poisonous.Therefore, in medicine, there is the term ciguatera. They indicate fish poisoning. Ciguatera cases are especially common in the coastal regions of the Pacific Ocean and in the West Indies.

Periodically, such delicacies as spotted grouper, yellow carax, sea carp, Japanese anchovy, barracuda, horned box are included in the list of inedibles.

The total number of fish in the world exceeds 20 thousand species. Six hundred poisonous ones seem like a small fraction. However, given the variability of secondary toxic fish and the prevalence of primary poisonous fish, one should not underestimate the specific “narrowness” of the class.

Poisonous fish | Group RuDIVE

Poisonous fish are easy to recognize by some distinctive features. If you see fish underwater with spines or spines in the dorsal or gill fins, on the back, head or tail, with sharp teeth or with a bumpy body, stay away from it. Perhaps her thorns are safe, her teeth are used to catch small crustaceans or to gnaw shells of mollusks, and the bumps on her body do not hide poisonous glands, but caution will not hurt.

Subclass Cartilaginous fish


Photo by Alexander Anisimov

Stingrays and sharks form a subclass of cartilaginous fish. Its very name speaks of their characteristic feature: the skeleton, including the skull and spine, is built not from bone, but from cartilaginous tissue. That is why they do not have gill covers, and their teeth are nothing more than modified plates of scales. In addition, cartilaginous fish do not have a swim bladder, which is characteristic of the rest of the fish that make up the subclass of bony fish.Stingrays breathe in a peculiar way: inhale – through special holes on the back – the so-called squirt; exhalation – through the gill slits on the ventral side. The variety of stingrays is great: from tiny and harmless ordinary stingrays to huge sea devils weighing one and a half tons.

Flat sheet-like rays, as a rule, lead a near-bottom lifestyle, most of the time lying on the surface of the bottom or partially hiding in the sand. Their bad habit of burrowing in sand and camouflaging well is associated with waiting for prey.The stationary stingray patiently watches over mollusks and crustaceans, and when they, without noticing anything, approach the hunter, lightning fast attacks them from an ambush.
Most of the stingrays, which make up the five families, are non-aggressive creatures, but some are capable of causing significant harm to humans under the right circumstances.

Stingray rollers

The Dasyatidae family unites more than 60 species, reaching quite decent sizes: 2 meters long and 5 meters wide, excluding the tail, and having 1-4 sharp spines on a long tail.Spines, like teeth, are outgrowths of scale plates. Such a thorn, reaching 40 cm in length in large rays, in a calm state is covered with a leathery sheath, under which there are poisonous glands. When attacking the victim, the cover is pulled back and exposes a serrated spike with two grooves, along which poison flows into a wound made by a sharp point. With a strong blow from the tail, the thorns break off and remain in the wound. Tail blows are often so strong that they can easily pierce clothing, a wetsuit, and even shoes or flippers.

Stingrays never use their weapons to attack humans. Accidents occur, as a rule, due to the carelessness of the bathers. The ability of stingrays to camouflage leads to the fact that a person walking in shallow water accidentally steps on him or passes in close proximity. A momentary blow from the tail follows, and a serrated spike pierces the foot, causing severe pain. You need to go noisily in shallow water, dragging your feet so that the slopes swam out of your way in advance. Another risk group is scuba divers: often picking up shells, pieces of coral and various objects lying on the bottom, the diver may not notice the lurking stingray and get an unexpected blow to the hand.Lacerated wounds from serrated spines often cause infections, especially since they are located on the feet or hands. If a thorn has pierced a large blood vessel, dangerous bleeding begins, fraught with a large loss of blood.

Poisoning with the secret of poisonous glands is accompanied by necrosis of the surrounding tissues, severe pain, weakness, convulsions, impaired respiration and heart activity. Despite the fact that thousands of people suffer from stingray stingray shots every year (in the United States alone – about 1,500 people a year), deaths are extremely rare.According to published data, over the past years 17 people have been killed by stingrayers, and death occurred for various reasons: from large blood loss, tetanus, myocardial necrosis; in some cases, the thorn entered a lung or large artery. The most famous fatal incident occurred with Australian TV presenter Steve Irwin, who during the filming accidentally hit a stingray in the heart with a thorn.

After hitting the stalker, the bleeding should be stopped immediately. The wound is washed and sterilized, local anesthesia is applied and thorn fragments are removed, which often requires qualified surgical intervention.
During the mating period, stingrays gather in huge flocks of tens and hundreds of individuals, smaller males literally stick around large females, and this celebration of life makes a tremendous impression.

Electric ramps

The peculiar family Torpedinidae includes more than 30 predatory species of the genus Torpedo sp., Equipped with powerful electrical organs located on the sides in front of the body. They consist of many well-shaped discs, the aggregate of which resembles a honeycomb.One organ contains up to 375 discs filled with gelatinous substance. The mechanism for the generation of alternating current with a power of up to 220 volts is still unclear, but, undoubtedly, effective: the stingray wraps its fins around the victim and paralyzes it with a powerful electric discharge.

Photo by Stanislav Mikosh

Electric rays are distinguished by rounded flat bodies up to one and a half meters long and round fins with various variegated colors.

Eagle rays

Photogenic spotted cuties from the family of eagle rays Myliobatidae reach 2 meters in length of fins and a weight of 350 kg.Eagles living in temperate and tropical seas are some of the favorite models of underwater photographers, but few people know that there are poisonous thorns on the long, thin tail. Symptoms of being hit by thorns are the same as when hitting stingrays. The most famous species among divers is the common spotted eagle Aetobatis narinari.


Sharks are not only voracious predators, but some are also actively venomous. In thorny, or katrana, sharks from the family Squalidae, in front of the first and second dorsal fins, sharp poisonous thorns stick out of the same structure as the thorns of rays: the lower part is covered with a leathery sheath covering the poisonous gland.When pressure is applied to the thorn, and therefore to the gland, a toxin is released. It is well known that the common katran Squalus acanthias is safe as a predator, but many do not realize that it is poisonous and can bring a careless bather or a fisherman who caught him a lot of trouble.

Subclass Bony fish


The large family of bony fish Scorpaenidae includes many venomous species, characterized by bright variegated coloration and sharp long spines on their fins.The cavity of the thorns contains poison, the toxicity of which varies in different species of the family. Typically, the injection causes severe burning pain, blue discoloration and necrosis of the skin around the wound, local swelling, weakness, high blood pressure, nausea, and uneven breathing. Scorpions have long, hollow, venomous spines in their dorsal fins and pose a serious danger to humans. They are especially numerous and varied in tropical seas.

Striped lionfish , so named for their bright red-white-purple striped color, are widespread on the coral reefs of the Red Sea and Indo-Pacific.They are very beautiful and graceful fish with large fan-shaped pink fins and long needle-like spines, especially poisonous and long in the dorsal fin. An accidental injection with such a thorn causes severe pain, followed by a deterioration in the condition and, in extreme cases, paralysis of the skeletal and respiratory muscles. That is why these beautiful bright creatures are so slow and unhurried, soaring proudly in the secluded corners of the reef with their fins fluffed up by a fan: they have no one to be afraid of.

Lionfish are nocturnal predators, so divers should be especially careful when swimming during night dives, when lionfish hunt fish in the beam of a flashlight and sometimes follow divers in flocks.In the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, the accidental introduction of lionfish caused an ecological catastrophe, since there are no natural predators in this basin, and the lionfish themselves are voracious and multiply rapidly. Local diving instructors are exterminating lionfish and trying to accustom local reef sharks to new prey, but have not been very successful so far.

Tourists who first find themselves in the seething underwater world of the Red Sea somewhere in Hurghada, already at a depth of ten meters, meet lionfish. There are especially many of them on sunken ships, in caves, crevices and hollows, where they hide from the sunlight in order to go hunting at night.The beauty and outward harmlessness of lionfish pleases the eye: one just wants to touch this popular “fashion model”. But remember, it’s best to keep your distance.

The most famous is the common lionfish, or lionfish (Pterois miles, P. volutans), it is also the largest lionfish in size and the most poisonous and dangerous to humans. Smaller and more graceful are the radiant lionfish Pterois radiata, the African lionfish P. mombasae and the zebra fish Dendrochirus zebra.


These deadly monsters, which are also called stone fish (Synanceiidae), are perhaps the most dangerous sea creatures.The striped lionfish is a real angel by comparison. They really look like a stone: with a round, gnarled body shape, a variegated gray camouflage color, and an immobile lifestyle; in addition, adults usually grow overgrown with crusty calcareous algae. It is difficult to spot wart on the seabed among rocks and corals, so accidents with divers are usually caused by accidental contact. Even with the appearance of an acute burning pain, a person does not immediately understand what happened – so skillfully a stone-fish hides at the bottom.

Science knows 10 types of wart, differing in size, location and size of thorns, toxicity of the poison and some other features. All of them are common inhabitants of the coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific, Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines and the Red Sea. The most common, poisonous and dangerous is the ocean wart Sinanceia verricosa.
The dorsal fin of the wart contains 13 poisonous spines, in a calm state enclosed in a kind of covers. The three front spines are larger and more mobile than the others: for example, the third spine in some species reaches 4 cm in length.When an unwary person touches a spine or steps on it, the cells of the poisonous gland located in the wall of the sheath are compressed, and the poison is injected into the wound along the grooves of the spine. The poison shoots out with such force that when the thorn was touched in the experiment, it hit with a fountain to a height of 15-23 cm! The short and thick spines of the wart pierce not only the neoprene, but also the thick rubber knee pads and the sole of the bot. According to the descriptions of people who survived after the injection, they have never experienced such terrible pain in their lives, and some even fainted from the painful shock under water.

Australian aborigines, who have lived side by side with shallow warts for centuries, know some plants that heal not only from severe internal injuries, but also from acute pains in the affected area. Thus, the leaves of the grass with the romantic name “goat’s leg” and the ashes of the white mangrove tree, prepared in a special way, relieve pain and put the unfortunate man on his feet in a day. Now scientists are trying to understand the mechanisms of the medicinal action of these plants. Recently in Australia, they received a specific antidote for wart – it has not yet entered the widespread sale, but is already in service with local medical institutions.

Photo by Dmitry Portnov

A person who has been injected with a stone-fish should be examined immediately and, if necessary, carried out cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Then the affected skin area with a characteristic bluish tinge is placed in hot water, which somewhat relieves the pain, and the specialists are waiting for the arrival of the antidote. It is not difficult to avoid a tragic rendezvous with a rock-fish: it is enough to refrain from walking in shallow water with bare feet or in shoes with thin soles, not touching corals and stones with bare hands and not fumbling with them out of curiosity in caves and crevices.Always maintain neutral buoyancy and enjoy the beauty of the coral reef from a safe distance.

90,000 Red Sea Fish – photo with names and descriptions

The underwater world of the Red Sea is full of amazingly bright and extraordinary fish of all sizes, shapes and colors.For those who first observe the underwater inhabitants of a coral reef in the Red Sea, it seems that they have entered a huge natural aquarium. The first impression is a shock from the purity and transparency of the water, a huge number of colorful and nimble fish scurrying around and a variety of shapes, colors and sizes of corals.

Dolphins, green turtle, dugong, rays and sharks can be seen in the Red Sea. Moray eels reach 3 meters in length and are quite intimidating, but if not teased, they are not dangerous.On the slopes of coral reefs or on the rocky shallow waters of the hotel beach, you will see the funny Rinecant Picasso, and the clown clown or heilin will lie on its side on the bottom when meeting you.

The Napoleon fish, which has a characteristic protrusion on its head, reminiscent of the headdress of the emperor of France, will allow you to touch yourself and arrange a small photo session. Around you will be swimming a huge number of fabulous pseudantias, parrot fish, differing in rather large sizes and shades of all colors of the rainbow, bright angel fish and butterfly fish, majestic lionfish and, of course, other dangerous and not so inhabitants of the Red Sea .

The photos presented on the site were taken by the author on the coral reefs of Hurghada (Shaab Abu Ramada and El Fanus), El Gouna (Shaab Abu Shaar), in Makadi Bay on the coral reef stretching along the Stella Beach, Royal hotels Azur and Club Azur. In Soma Bay on Tobia Arba Reef and El Gouna Aquarium. Some photos courtesy of Panoramio’s Red Sea fishes friends. You can see the diversity of the underwater world of the Red Sea and download wallpapers for your desktop on the page Underwater landscapes – aquascape, and in the News section you will learn about the latest developments in the tourism industry in Egypt.

Antiases make up a significant part of the colorful and colorful fish that inhabit the coral reefs, which can be seen in numerous photographs and in popular science films about the underwater world. These are mostly small and very popular fish in the marine aquarium hobby. Since they are protogenic hermaphrodites, that is, all fish are born as females, this species forms complex social structures based on the quantitative predominance of females over males, their position on the reef itself and the amount of zooplankton that they mainly feed on.

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According to some sources, in Ancient Rome, this fish was highly valued for its soft meat, before it was cooked, it was brought in a transparent vessel and shown to the visitors of the establishment, so that guests could see how the original silver-gray color of the fish turns into carmine.

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Butterfly fish reach sizes from 7 to 30 centimeters, have a high and very laterally compressed body. The combination of black and yellow colors is most typical for butterfly fish, there is also a combination of black and silver, as well as bright red, orange and blue spots on a yellow background.

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From the very birth, each dolphin gets its own name, to which it responds when its relatives address it. Dolphin names represent a characteristic whistle, when they get to know each other, they introduce themselves, understand the appeals as words, and not just as signals from relatives.They can determine who is who without any connection with recognizing the interlocutor’s voice. Carrying out experiments with bottlenose dolphins (bottlenose dolphins), scientists broadcast impersonal synthesized messages to them. Most of the dolphins turned when they heard that it was them who had been called.

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The first dorsal fin is usually represented by one powerful spine located above the eye or even several in front of it.This cleat can be locked in the raised position by a latch formed by a small second cleat.

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In the Pacific and Indian Oceans, the giant grouper Epinephelus lanceolatus, also called rock perch, is found – this is the largest fish from the order of perches from the Serranidae subfamily, its lengths reach 3.6 m, and its weight is up to 400 kg.

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Wrasse colors are very varied and bright. Fish can combine all the variety of colors in color. In many species, the color range changes throughout life, the juveniles differ sharply from the adult. Also, the color of females and males is different.Often, females are less bright and can have a completely different color than males, which is why for a long time scientists attributed fish of one species to different ones.

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Before mating, the male blowfish, using its pelvic and anal fins, draws a circle with radial patterns on the sand inside of amazing accuracy and mystical beauty.Then the pair lays eggs in the center of the circle, after which the male remains to guard the clutch for about a week until the fry emerge.

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More than 10 genera and 100 species belong to the Kefalev family. These are very little torpedo-shaped beautiful fish differing in appearance, usually having a silvery color.All mullets are good swimmers. They are very mobile and have the ability to jump out of the water when frightened. Some species make rather large migratory movements, but most of them are sedentary fish.

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Usually these fish lie motionless on the bottom among stones or between coral branches, being held in place by powerful rays of pectoral fins, and await prey.They are all predators and feed on crustaceans and fish; often keep in places with strong currents or waves.

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There are no scales on the body of the box bodies, the bare skin is covered with mucus, which contains the poison ostraciotoxin. In a state of excitement, stress or danger, the poison is released in large quantities into the water.In the open sea, this does not pose a great danger to the surrounding fish, but when these fish are kept in aquariums, in a limited volume of water, this feature can lead to the death of both the fish itself and other fish contained with it.

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Letrins are typical inhabitants of the coastal zone.Favorite areas for them are coral reefs, rocks, piles of stones and thickets of underwater vegetation. They prefer stony, sandy and shell rock soils, avoid silted and freshened areas.

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Lucianidae live in the coastal tropical and subtropical seas of the Atlantic Ocean and the Indo-Pacific region, some species are found in brackish and even highly desalinated areas.At least one species has been successfully introduced into the freshwater lakes of Australia.

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Sea turtles belong to the class of reptiles in the turtle family. This family includes six species of sea and ocean turtles, five of which are found in the Red Sea.For tens of millions of years, starting from the Mesozoic era, the structure of sea turtles remained practically unchanged. Sea turtles differ from representatives of their land relatives by the presence of flipper limbs covered with horny plates, of which the front ones are much longer than the hind ones and by the presence of a flat streamlined dorsal-abdominal shell.

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This family includes fish with a very elongated body in the form of a thick needle (sea needles) or with a completely peculiar body shape, reminiscent of a chess figure of a horse, with a head tilted to the body and a curling prehensile tail (seahorses).

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Representatives of this species have a rather high body, elongated and laterally compressed. Many sea carps are commercial species and are taken by local and oceanic fisheries. Young immature individuals often differ greatly from adults in body shape and color, sometimes they are much brighter than their parents.

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A distinctive feature of these fish are high-set eyes, often with supraorbital antennae, as well as filamentous or massive branched outgrowths on the head, more noticeable in males. Sea dog meat is edible, but not very tasty and is practically not used for food.These fish have one interesting feature – if you are lucky enough to catch it on a sea fishing, be prepared that when unhooking or simply picking it up, it bites, clenching its jaws, but does not hurt. It is not dangerous to humans.

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They feed on plant food, biting off algae from rocks or dead corals, therefore they live at shallow depths.They keep in groups, often visit places with strong excitement, where they pick up fragments of plants torn off by waves. This species has edible and even quite tasty meat, but it is not appreciated as food fish due to its small size.

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Moray eels received their vicious reputation not quite deservedly.Despite their creepy appearance, they do not attack first, unless divers show increased attention to them, provoking, annoying or trying to feed these predators from their hands.

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This is a relatively small fish, reaching a length of 30 cm.The color is pink with a purple tint. The back is dark crimson, the belly is white, slightly yellowish. On the sides, along the general pink background, there are longitudinal rows of alternating yellow and bluish dots, often merging into stripes.

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Parrot fish are distinguished by a wide variety of colors, shades, head structure and sizes.Among all the diversity of the inhabitants of coral reefs, they stand out for their large size and their bright colors, sometimes in order to see them you don’t even need to dive.

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Identification and classification of Platax has been difficult for a long time due to the significant age and individual variability of these fish.If you look at the photos of different types of plataxes on the Fishbase.org website, then this alone is puzzling, because it seems that all this is either one and the same fish, or such chaos is going on in its classification that it is simply impossible to discern belonging to any species. For some time, a large number of species were included in the plataxes, but in the process of long-term observation and study of these fish, researchers came to the conclusion that all species names refer to one single species.With age, Platax is very variable. Young fish are colored yellow or orange with three distinct black stripes, very long dorsal and anal fins, which gives the fish a crescent shape. As they grow older, the fins are shortened, the black stripes are blurred, the body acquires a monochromatic dark or silvery color.

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Considered a valuable commercial fish.In Japan, it is usually delivered live to the Tokyo markets. Its meat, especially tasty in spring and summer, is eaten raw, boiled in sauce or fried. The maximum size of this species is 120 cm and a weight of 15 kg.

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Most of the Pomacents live within the boundaries of a certain territory and selflessly defend it.In protected areas, algae are always more luxuriant than where surgeons and other algae-eaters “wield”. Often in the sea you can see a flock of three spotted dascyllus or domino fish (Dascyllus trimaculatus) chasing predators away.

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This family is characterized by a powerful, posteriorly directed spine, which is located on the underside of the branchial slits and differs in color from the rest of the body.This spine is the most reliable distinguishing feature from the bristle-toothed (butterfly fish), whose appearance is very similar, but in which it is completely absent.

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Their short body is capable of swelling like blowfish. The teeth on the jaws are fused into beak-shaped plates without a transverse suture, so there is one tooth on the upper and lower jaws (diodon means “two-toothed” in Latin).The scales on the body are transformed into spines, sometimes quite long, which are pressed against the body in a calm state, and when the fish swell, they rise vertically.

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Soldier fish usually show their activity at night, and during the day they hide in caves, crevices of coral reefs and under shallow corals at the very bottom.But during the day they can often be seen, carefully swimming along the reef wall. They peer curiously out of their hideout, often lining up in several vertical rows.

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Grunt fish belong to the family of Grumblers or Grunts – Haemulidae, about 20 genera and more than 130 species of grumbled fish are known, among them are various diagrams, grumblers, pristypomas and ronki.This species is called “grunt fish” or “grunt fish” because of the ability to make loud grunting sounds, possibly having a signal value. Sound is produced by the resonating action of the swim bladder as the surrounding muscles contract.

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All spines in the unpaired fins of whitefish have deep notches along the edge – there are glands that secrete a poisonous substance.Therefore, the whitefish should be handled with great care, since as a result of injections of their fin spines, very unpleasant and long-lasting wounds are formed.

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From below, the head of the stingray looks like a funny smiley, there are gill slits (as a rule, there are five of them on each side), the smiling mouth is really a mouth, and the eyes of the smiley are the olfactory holes.

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The color of the scorpion fish is quite bright and is a warning, as, for example, in poisonous lionfish. At the same time, wart (scorpion fish) or stone fish have a color that disguises them as the environment and they are practically invisible on the sand or among coral thickets.

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The first dorsal fin, which is folded at rest and is invisible in many species, contains three large spines, of which the first is the longest. The second spike serves as a lock. In case of danger, the fish straightens the fin, then the second spine shifts slightly upward, which is why the first two spines are fixed and it is impossible to fold the dorsal fin without breaking the spines.

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The coloration of the surgeons is very bright and varied. The body can be bright blue, lemon yellow, or pinkish red. Owners of brown color usually have a rather contrasting interesting pattern. The young surgeons are completely different from their parents, they are not only differently colored, but also devoid of a characteristic feature – tail spines.

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Lizardhead fish are widespread in tropical and warm seas of all oceans, but, apparently, nowhere are they especially numerous. Some of them live at rather great depths – up to 300-350 m and more.Most of the species, however, live near the coast, in areas with muddy or sandy ground, near rocks and reefs.

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90,000 description with names and photos, poisonous

In the Red Sea, for millions of years, various underwater inhabitants live and reproduce in large numbers.To date, it is known about one and a half thousand species of fish that have been described and studied by humans, although it is believed that this is not even half of the total number of fish inhabiting the Red Sea. At the same time, the species differ not only in the variety of colors, but also in the nature of behavior, and among them there are both safe and dangerous species.

The sea is warm enough and not a single river flows into it, thanks to which the natural purity of the water is preserved, which contributes to comfortable living conditions for many species of fish.Moreover, many of the species are considered unique, since they are not found in other bodies of water on the planet.

Popular and safe species of fish

As a rule, all tourists who visit popular resorts on the Red Sea coast plan to visit the underwater world or go fishing. As a result of such events, tourists get a lot of pleasure from meeting many representatives of the underwater world.

Parrot fish

The parrot fish is distinguished by a rather colorful outfit, which is quite consistent with its name.The body color of the fish is multi-colored, and there is a growth on the forehead, like a parrot’s beak. Regardless of the uniqueness of the color, as well as regardless of the size, the parrotfish is absolutely peaceful and safe.

Despite the safety, the fish can still accidentally bite and since it has powerful jaws, the bite can be quite painful. Before nightfall, the fish forms a jelly-like cocoon, which serves as protection from parasites and predators. Being in such a cocoon, a parrot fish cannot even find a moray eel by its smell.

Napoleon fish

The species got its name because of a growth on the head, which looks like Napoleon’s cocked hat. The Maori Gubana is distinguished by its impressive size, reaching 2 meters, but, despite its huge size, the fish has a very good-natured character. In addition, the fish is trusting and sociable, so it swims up to the divers to get to know each other.


The fish is not large in size, maximum 15 cm in length. Leads a gregarious lifestyle, and each flock may contain up to 500 individuals.As a rule, flocks include individuals of various colors – orange, green, red and their shades.

Two-lane amphiprion

The fish is simply unique in color, therefore it attracts divers. The stripes have black contrasting piping. Fish prefer to live in pairs, being in anemones, while tourists are not afraid of them. Although the tentacles of anemones are poisonous, they are not dangerous for the two-striped amphiprion, since the body of these fish is covered with mucus. Amprihions are also called clowns.They are not afraid of anyone, being protected by the tentacles of anemones.

Butterfly fish

It has a rather high and strongly flattened oval body. The dorsal fin is long, with a bright color in black and yellow tones. The butterfly fish leads a diurnal lifestyle, so it is known to many divers, especially since it lives at shallow depths.

They can be found both in a small flock and in pairs. There are individuals of absolutely various colors, in blue, orange, black, silver, red, yellow tones and their numerous combinations.

Black-mottled grumbler

This species has wide lips, therefore it was also called “sweet lip”. This inhabitant received the name grumbler for the sounds that are heard when biting corals.


Another interesting fish species can be found in the coastal zone of the Red Sea. These fish feel good, both among rocks and reefs, and among aquatic vegetation. The body is tinted green-brown, with the presence of dark spots on the sides of the body.Fins and eyes are reddish-pink. They can grow up to half a meter in length.

Imperial Angel

This fish is easy to spot among many representatives of the underwater world by its unique body coloring, which immediately catches the eye. The fish is decorated with stripes of various shades. Moreover, the stripes are not only multi-colored, but also have different lengths and shapes. In this case, the direction of the stripes can also be varied, as a result of which various geometric shapes can be formed on the body of the fish.Each fish has its own unique and inimitable pattern.


This species is distinguished by a unique, crescent-shaped body and grows up to 70 cm in length. The body of the fish is strongly flattened on the sides and is characterized by bright orange and yellow coloring and three black stripes. The fish are not shy and quite sociable and curious, therefore they always accompany divers. They prefer to lead a gregarious lifestyle. Adults lose some of their color and become monotonous, silvery, and the stripes are blurred.At the same time, the size of the fins also decreases.


These fish have glowing eyes, although a greenish light may come from the tail or abdomen. Fish grow up to 11 cm in length no more. They live at depths of up to 25 meters in caves. The fish are shy, so they hide from divers. Due to the greenish radiation, they manage to attract potential prey. In addition, light helps them stay within their species.


Quite an interesting species that makes up a significant part of the living creatures that inhabit coral reefs.They represent quite bright and colorful fish, which are always found, both in photographs and in videos taken under water.

These are not big and interesting fish that are known to many aquarists. In nature, these fish are protogenic hermaphrodites. In other words, all fish are born as females, so this species forms complex social ties, since the number of females is always much more than males.

Sea crucians

They are distinguished by a high and compressed body on both sides.Many of the species of sea carp are edible, therefore they are harvested in commercial volumes. Young individuals of sea carp are fundamentally different from their adult relatives, both in color and in body shape. At the same time, they look much brighter than their parents.

Blend dogs

These representatives of the underwater world can be distinguished by their high-set eyes. Quite often, antennae grow above the eyes, and on the head you can see filamentary or massive growths, which are more noticeable in males.Sea dog meat can be eaten, but it is considered tasteless, so few people eat it. When it gets on the hook and when trying to pull it off, it tries to bite by clenching its jaw. In fact, this bite is completely painless.

Red Sea fish with names Catalog 1st film Dangerous (from 13:22 film) Egypt Jordan Aqaba

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Aggressive inhabitants of the Red Sea

In addition to peaceful, safe fish, dangerous, aggressive views.At the same time, they are not the first to attack, but if you provoke them, then you can regret it. As a rule, when blood appears, predators always appear immediately, therefore, adherence to simple rules can help protect a person from unforeseen situations.


  • Do not touch the fish with your hands.
  • Do not visit the sea at night.

In this case, you must always be prepared for the fact that the fish may unexpectedly attack the diver.

Poisonous fish

Surgeon fish

The tail fins of the fish are equipped with sharp spines for protection.When nothing threatens the fish, these thorns are hidden in special recesses. In case of danger, the thorns are pulled out and spread apart, and they are sharp like scalpels.

The fish can grow up to 1 meter in length. If someone wants to pet this fish, which is no less brightly colored than safe fish, then he can get a lot of trouble, as well as deep wounds.


The whole deceit is that it is difficult to see the fish against the background of the bottom.The presence of warty growths and gray color is repulsive. When a stone fish burrows into the bottom, it cannot be noticed at all, since it literally merges with the bottom surface. If you accidentally prick it with spikes located on the dorsal fin, then without special medical care, a lethal outcome is possible, literally in a few hours.

When the poison enters the body, a person suffers from excruciating pains, from disturbances in the rhythm of the heart, from disturbances in the work of the vascular system, disturbances of consciousness, etc.e. If you seek help in a timely manner, the person can be cured, but it will take a long time.

Zebra fish

This fish is also called lionfish, and it is distinguished by uniquely shaped ribbon-like fins with poisonous needles. As a result of careless handling of fish, you can prick with thorns, which leads to convulsive manifestations, loss of consciousness and breathing problems. The body is painted in the form of alternating brownish-red stripes, which resembles a fan.Many underwater inhabitants stay at a considerable distance from this fish.


Despite the capabilities of this fish, it does not show any aggression. At the same time, careless handling can lead to a number of negative consequences. For example:

  • As a result of an electric shock, paralysis or cardiac arrest can occur.
  • As a result of an injection with a poisonous thorn, a painful and long-healing wound appears.

In fact, not a single death has been recorded when meeting a stingray.The main problem arises when a person steps on a fish.

Sea Dragon

In appearance, and especially in body shape, the sea dragon can be easily confused with a goby. The presence of dark spots and stripes on the body of the fish indicates that this creature belongs to a dangerous species. The sea dragon hunts its potential victims, both at depths of up to 20 meters, and in shallow water, where a person can easily step on a predator buried in the sand.

This predator grows up to half a meter in length and has an elongated body.Attacks its prey with lightning speed. Thanks to the high-set eyes, the fish is easy to hunt. The fish always keeps the dorsal fin extended as a warning. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to notice it in time. All fin needles are toxic.

Even a dead sea dragon is dangerous for 3 hours. This fish is especially dangerous for fishermen. When the fish gets on the hook and is pulled out of the water, then all the thorns are pressed, but as soon as the fish is taken in hand, the thorns immediately straighten out. Fat pricks can be fatal.

Arotron star-shaped

This is a rather large inhabitant of the underwater kingdom, as it grows in length up to one and a half meters. Due to its unique coloring and slow movement in the water column, this fish is also difficult to see against the background of the bottom. The peculiarity of the arotron is that it is capable of swelling almost to a ball. The fish manages to do this thanks to the presence of a special chamber located next to the stomach. At the moment of danger, the fish instantly fills this chamber with water, which scares off enemies.

The poison tetradoxin accumulates in the flesh of the arotron, therefore it is not recommended to eat the meat of these individuals. As you know, this poison is much more toxic than potassium cyanide. The fish have strong enough teeth that easily grind corals and shellfish, so its bites are quite painful.

Poisonous fish of the Red Sea are often more toxic than poisonous snakes that inhabit the land.

Dangerous fish

Needle fish

In appearance, this fish is simply unique: the body length is almost 1 meter, while the body is narrow, hexagonal in shape.The color can be different: there are individuals of light green, gray and reddish-brown shades. It is better not to meet with this fish, since it can easily bite through the human body.

Tiger shark

The tiger shark is distinguished by the fact that it is decorated with stripes on the sides, like a tiger, which is why it got its name. Predators can easily and at any time appear within the beach areas or in bays. These are quite large sharks, up to 7 meters long. These predators can hunt in complete darkness.Tiger sharks, in comparison with other species, attack people much more often.


This is a fish up to 2 meters long and resembling an ordinary pike in appearance. The barracuda has a rather large mouth, in which knife-like teeth are placed, so it can easily cripple a person. Of course, it does not specifically attack a person, but it can easily confuse a human limb with a fish, especially if the water is cloudy.

In fact, it does not threaten humans, but it can hunt together with sharks, so it is not difficult to assume that sharks may appear immediately with the appearance of a barracuda.

Barracuda meat is also not recommended for consumption, since severe poisoning with a fatal outcome is possible.

Moray eel

We can safely say that this is just a unique representative of the Red Sea, which, depending on the species, can grow up to 3 meters. The moray eel’s body is serpentine, so it gracefully moves among the placers of stones of various sizes at the very bottom. The body of a moray eel is without scales, while it can have a very varied color.You can find individuals, both monotonous and spotted, or striped, etc. She has a relatively large mouth with two jaws. The fish is not poisonous, but as a result of a bite, the wound does not heal for a long time.

Blue-finned balistode

This species is especially dangerous in the summer, when the mating season begins for fish. During this period, he is easily able to attack a person. In other periods, the blue-finned balistode remains completely calm and practically does not react to foreign objects.Prefers to stay within coral reefs.

Differs in bright coloring, while the shape of the picture can be different, as well as its color. This fish has strong enough teeth that easily cope with corals and crustacean shells. The bites are severe and take a long time to heal, although not toxic. It is believed that the behavior of this fish is unpredictable, therefore it is the most dangerous on the reefs.

Spotted Flathead

This representative of the underwater kingdom is also called the crocodile fish.Prefers to live among coral reefs. It grows in length up to almost 1 meter. Due to the fact that the fish has a large head and wide mouth, it was called a crocodile fish. The body is painted in sandy colors or dirty green shades.

Spends almost all of his time at the bottom, buried in the sand and waiting for the fish swimming by, which are part of the diet of this fish. At the same time, he attacks his victim, making lightning throws. It prefers to hunt small fish, despite its rather wide mouth.

Flathead is distinguished by its intimidating appearance, as its body is covered with thorns that protect it from natural enemies. The fish is not aggressive, but you should not touch its body. As a result of the resulting wounds, serious inflammation is possible if you do not seek help in a timely manner.

Krasnomorsk Tylozur

This is a predatory fish that hunts for small fish at a shallow depth. This fish grows up to one and a half meters in length and is very similar to the barracuda, but the telozur is much longer than the jaw.The fish is unique in that, jumping out of the water, it flies a considerable distance along the waves. The tail of this fish is strong enough and acts like a spring. As a rule, with the help of their jumps, they unexpectedly appear in schools of fish that the predator preys on. Often, when carrying out their jumps, telozuras inflicted injuries on fishermen.

In addition to the listed species of fish, there are other species in the Red Sea that are of particular interest to tourists.

Makadi Underwater World, Red Sea, Egypt.Underwater World of Makadi, Egipt 2015. (4K)

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In conclusion

Naturally, this is not the whole list and it could be continued indefinitely. But these are only the species that are known. It is believed that there are many more species about which scientists still do not know anything.

Red Sea, part 2 – fish.

This is the second part of the photo-story about the Red Sea. All photos were taken with Canon PowerShot A700 and Canon PowerShot A460 soap cameras.The first part, about corals and shellfish, can be found here.

Red lionfish (Pterois volitans)

This is a red lionfish (Pterois volitans), she is a striped lionfish, she is a zebra fish. This predator can safely swallow fish up to two-thirds of its own length. Sharp, poisonous needles lurk in the fan-like fins. The prick of this fish with thorns is very painful. A sharp pain is followed by a worsening of the condition, which ends with paralysis of the skeletal and respiratory muscles.If the victim is not dragged ashore immediately, he will drown. This is one of those fish that is not worth swimming in the Red Sea without a snorkel and mask.

Fish flute

Despite the fact that this fish has a relatively small mouth, it is able to catch even such mobile prey as squid, cuttlefish and shrimp.

Blue pseudobalistes (Pseudobalistes fuscus)

Pseudobalist swims like a normal fish, but hides lying down like a flounder. Changes color from black-blue to yellow-blue.In this photo, he is just hiding in a stash.

Blue pseudobalistes (Pseudobalistes fuscus)

The same pseudobalist. He just ate a sea urchin and is now trying to eat a second one. But the second is smarter – he hides not only behind his own thorns, but also behind the neighbors. The pseudobalist gently takes the hedgehog in his mouth and then break off the thorns on stones and corals. After that, he spits out the hedgehog, takes it back into his mouth, and breaks off the thorns on the other side. And so until there are no thorns at all.Yellow butterfly fish are waiting for something to come to them.


Dascyllus selflessly guards his territory. It is worth taking up a stone or simply violating the boundaries of its territory, he immediately pounces on even negligent divers. Yes, that’s bad luck, it tickles from his bites. The camera often bites.

Gray dascillae by a coral jar. Depth about 4 m.

Red-striped grouper (Epinephelus fasciatus)

These small fish are sometimes yellow-red or brick-colored without vertical stripes, but most often they show 5 wide dark vertical stripes on the body, which are better visible at the base of the dorsal fin.A common sight for coral reefs and rocky coastlines. It occurs from shallow waters to a depth of 160 m. It consumes crustaceans (crabs, shrimps), molluscs and juvenile fish.

Cheilinus lunulatus (Cheilinus lunulatus)

Heilin belongs to the wrasse group. An interesting feature of many wrasses is the change in sex throughout life and the associated color changes. Most have three color phases: juvenile, typical for immature fish, initial, typical for most mature females and some part of males, and final, which is acquired by large mature males or grown females that change their sex.These phases are so different that they are still described as belonging to different species of fish

Arabian surgeon (Acanthurus sohal)

At the “surgeons”, each fish occupies its own area and behaves very aggressively towards its neighbors. In a state of excitement, fish darken noticeably. It is better not to flirt with this fish, since the thorn on the tail stem can be poisonous, and surgeons use it with great skill.

Giant moray eel. Not a very good shot, but somehow it was uncomfortable.I didn’t want to swim closer. The length of the fish is about 2.5 meters.

Large moray eels have lived in one place for many years and are well known to local guides. Feeding moray eels from the hands is a very impressive sight, but it always poses a certain danger, since the behavior of these fish is difficult to predict. Sudden aggressiveness can be associated with a physiological state, fear, illness, or injury received the day before. Despite the absence of poisonous teeth, moray eels bites are very painful and do not heal for a long time.In addition, moray eels are very strong animals and their multiple bites can end very badly.

Legendary Clown Fish. Very little.

Amphiprions living in symbiosis with anemones are a favorite subject for underwater photographers, since these bright fish never leave their “native” anemones, and are not at all afraid of scuba divers. Adult fish usually live in pairs in the same sea anemone.

Body cube (Ostracion cubicus Linnaeus)

Kuzovki are very funny fish, which cannot be confused with any others, since their body is enclosed in a hard bony shell formed by fused hexagonal or polygonal bone plates.The bodies are very poor swimmers, so they are often thrown ashore by waves or carried away by the current into the open ocean. Surprisingly high maneuverability of these fish, which can stand or spin in one place, swim forward or backward. It is very funny to watch how the box body “blows” from the sand the bottom invertebrates that it feeds on.

Crowned squirrel fish (Fish soldiers).

Almost all Soldier Pisces are active at night. During the day they hide in caves and deep crevices, they can often be seen, carefully swimming along the reef wall that goes into the depths.They look out of their shelter with curiosity, often lining up in several vertical rows, but as danger approaches, they quickly hide.

Yellow-spotted angelfish (Pomacanthus maculosus)

Angel fish are considered one of the most beautiful and graceful living creatures of tropical seas and not only on coral reefs. In many ways, including bright coloration, they resemble butterfly fish, but differ from them in the presence of a powerful spine that extends back from the angle of the serrated preopercular bone.

Related links:

catalog, poisonous, most dangerous, predatory, video »Traveler’s card

Fish of Egypt: catalog, poisonous, most dangerous, predatory, video.

There are several excellent diving sites in the world that are famous for their diversity of fauna. For many people, scuba diving is becoming not only a favorite hobby, but also a passion.
Traveling around the world, divers discover new atolls, where coral reefs are amazing with their inhabitants.For example, Jacques-Yves Cousteau opened the world to a number of unique destinations for tourism and diving. Reefs are inhabited by thousands of species of marine life, including poisonous, dangerous and predatory. The fish of Egypt are no exception, you need to get acquainted with the most dangerous representatives of the marine flora even before the first diving.

Fish of Egypt

It is simply impossible to list all types of fish that are found in the coastal waters and rivers of Egypt. Only in the freshwater waters of the Nile, there are more than 2000 species of inhabitants.More than 1250 species of inhabitants of are found in the Red Sea, and they are unique not only in number, but also in their coloring. This tropical sea is located in close proximity to Europe, therefore large yachts from Italy, Germany, France and Great Britain come to the ports of Ghalib, Sharm el-Sheikh, Hurghada for diving purposes.

Let’s single out the most common and rare species of marine life , with which divers can meet. The fabulous color of reef fish is associated with the function of adaptation, it is by color that they recognize their relatives in the clear waters of the Red Sea.The corals are home to schools of safe coral fish.

Butterfly fish
Butterfly fish are medium-sized colorful coral fish, the most common are
masked, black-backed and red-backed, diagonal ones. The name is common due to the fact that these fish do not seem to swim, but flutter in coral gardens. The royal butterfly and the blue butterfly are also common.
They have a flattened oval shape and are very conspicuous among corals. They are more often in shallow water during the day, depending on the species, they can swim alone, in pairs or flocks-families.

Puffers or masked arotrons are small predatory coral fish, thick in shape, with black fins. She is able to bite through corals, can get angry with divers when she shows her teeth, and even bites. The Red Sea is the only place to see this fish, although there is a similar species in the Indian Sea.

Parrotfish is a species numerous in color variants. It is painted in several colors and shimmers beautifully in clear water, which is why it is nicknamed the parrot.Parrots, regardless of color, have teeth for biting through corals, do not attack people, but there is no need to unduly attract their attention.

Fiddler – have a dorsal fin and strong teeth for biting through corals. Usually the fin is hidden and comes out only at the time of hunting or protection. Subspecies are divided: Rinecant Picasso, file fish, large green triggerfish. All triggerfish have an interesting geometric shape and bright colored spots on the scales. Not afraid of a person.

Antiases are small coral fish, several hundred subspecies are known, painted in bright sunny tones. In Egypt, orange antias are widespread, they live in reefs, which serve as a refuge for them. You can also find green anthias, precious pseudo-anthias that are very common in the Red Sea. They swim in flocks of 500 families, the male among them is pink.

Nocturnal fish hedgehog
Nocturnal fish hedgehog with large doll-like eyes, eyebrows and mild white spines like a hedgehog.During the day, she can be found in shaded areas, and she leads an active life at night. A hedgehog can be seen up close, it rarely swims away from a person. An interesting variety is the hedgehog dioodon with long thorns; these are dangerous inhabitants with thorny thorns.

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The black-speckled grumbler is a rather large individual with lemon-yellow fins and black dots on the withers.During the day they hide in the shade of corals, but take pictures with pleasure. A distinctive feature is large lips. Grunt was nicknamed for gnashing his teeth.

Red Sea amphiprion is a fish that can be found only in the Red Sea. It resembles transparent mushrooms in shape. Amphipryos are more than 30 species, but the “Red Sea” is found only in the waters of Egypt and Jordan. She has relatives – an oval shape with a black head and a white tail – this is a two-tone chromis.

Arabian surgeons
Fish surgeons have an elongated oval shape with yellow fins and a blue and white stripe.The length is about 40 cm. These are dangerous inhabitants, the tail has sharp orange spines. Sometimes they can circle around divers and even injure.
An interesting variety – a rhinoceros surgeon with a picturesque graphic coloring. The deep gray body has a thin yellow dorsal fin and a lyre tail. These are dangerous fish, as there are 2 “surgical” plates at the tail. When they warn of an attack, they move their tail vigorously.

Arabian angel
The Arabian angel or yellow-striped amakant has a beautiful purple color with a yellow spot on the side, a lyre-shaped tail and is quite large, about 50 cm.The spot on the side resembles the shape of the Sinai Peninsula. The angel can be seen at depths of up to 60 m and in shallow water. In Sharm El Sheikh, you can sometimes see the royal angel fish with a striped yellow-blue-white coloration. The tail is yellow.

The needlefish or tylosur has a long pike-like shape and sharp teeth with a thin mouth. The needles float near the surface in small flocks. Their length is about 1 meter. These are dangerous fish, sometimes attacking swimmers and fishermen.

Other inhabitants:

red starfish (not poisonous), its usual dimensions are 4-5 cm.Painted like a fly agaric;
Christmas worm looks like red fluffy lumps and lives in corals, blue and yellow worms are also found;
sea cucumber (trepang) has a length of about 50 cm, resembles a cucumber in shape, usually crawls along the bottom.

Also in the waters of the Red Sea you can find blue-striped snapper, silvery schools of mackerel, lantern fish, hound fish, flatheads, mantas, bat fish, reef and rock perch, cesium, wrasse, napoleon fish, squirrel fish, fish – hedgehogs, sultans, gobies, blend dogs and many others.
Please note that you must not touch anything during the dive. You need to watch where you step on the beach, which is why plastic bathing shoes are recommended.

Dangerous and poisonous fish of Egypt

Sea urchins : poisonous needles
Sea urchins (most dangerous), 940 species described, sizes up to 30 cm. Most are safe, but echinoderm urchins, which are common in the Red Sea, are very poisonous to humans. The needles often break and are difficult to remove, resulting in non-healing wounds that require surgery.The venom of some hedgehogs has a neuroparalytic effect on the human nervous system. First aid is to lower the limb into hot water, part of the poison will decompose under infrared radiation.

Stingrays : dangerous thorns and electric shock
Stingrays and stingrays have a flat, spreading body, as if developing in the wind while swimming, and a long tail. The stingray stingray is often found in the reefs of Sharm El Sheikh. These are poisonous fish with dangerous thorns on the tail.The stingray usually swims at the bottom or digs holes. Other types of stingrays can create an electrical shock that can cause paralytic shock in humans. First aid is to restore breathing and stop the blood.

Barracudas : attack in troubled waters
Barracudas are predatory fish with elongated shape and sharp fins, rarely attacking humans. They are attracted to shiny objects, they can also attack a person in muddy water, in the dark, or in a school of small reef fish. The Red Sea is home to eight species of barracuda.A powerful jaw is dangerous for a person, while an attack by a fish usually does not lead to death, more often veins and arteries are damaged, which causes severe bleeding. First aid is to stop the blood with a tourniquet if the artery is damaged.

Sharks : tiger sharks are dangerous, most of them are safe
Sharks are large predatory fish, there are several species and only some of them attack humans, and much more often men. Usually the most dangerous sharks do not swim to the shore, but sometimes their activity increases.At the same time, experts believe that the danger of being attacked by them is greatly exaggerated.
White, tiger, blunt-nosed and long-winged sharks can attack without provocation. Safe species are blacktip, white-finned reef shark. The gray reef shark has a size of 2.6 meters, is very curious and “follows” divers, but attacks only when teased. There have been unprovoked attacks and fatalities. An irritated shark has a hunched back, an open mouth, drooping fins, and swims in zigzags.She should not be photographed in such a state and it is better to sail without sudden movements.

Nurse sharks are 3 meters long and are often confused with tiger sharks. This is a peaceful and curious species, but these sharks should not be “pestered”. The tiger shark, on the other hand, has a length of up to 6 meters, attacks more often in muddy water, at great depths. They go out into shallow water at night.
The zebra shark does not attack humans, in contrast to the potential danger of the silver shark often found in the coastal waters of Egypt.They don’t swim to divers. The blacktip shark also appears frequently in coastal waters, is dark gray or brown in color with a white stripe on the back and is 2.5 meters long. There were attacks on a person, but without serious injury. The sand shark is often found in the coastal zone of Egypt, but has never attacked humans.
First Aid — Inject anesthetic and stop bleeding.

Starfish – crown of thorns : poisonous
Starfish (crown of thorns) is poisonous to humans, has sharp needles, it is easy to confuse it with coral, so do not touch anything at depth with your hands.The injections can cause poisoning, and are usually very painful. The poison is destroyed in warm water.

Conical snail (cone) : poisonous harpoon
A conical snail or cone hunts with a poisonous harpoon on small crustaceans, sometimes it can “attack” a person. Snail venom is relatively poisonous. First aid is to cut the wound and bleed.

Jellyfish : Scorching Tentacles
Red Sea jellyfish are not found along the entire coast of Egypt and are only active for a few months.They can be seen in April-May in Sharm el-Sheikh. There are many jellyfish in Garden Bay, but they do not cause serious injuries, sometimes they burn. Jellyfish are not found in Hurghada. First aid is to lubricate the burn site with alcohol or vinegar.

Poisonous reef fish of Egypt

Stonefish or wart hides among the stones and has poisonous thorns. Often found in Dahab, Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada. Found in reefs and shaded areas. The defeat of the thorns can lead to paralysis and tissue necrosis, if the thorn enters the vessel – death without assistance occurs within 2-3 hours.Survivors restore the activity of the affected nerves for months. First aid is to calm the victim as much as possible due to very severe pain, apply a hot compress or lower the damaged area in hot water, then apply a compress from a mixture of leaves and fruits of Thespesia populnea and Convolvulus brasiliensis (Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedia).

Moray eels : the most dangerous fish in Egypt
Sea moray eels – heroes of children’s fairy tales, are distinguished by their frightening appearance. They have a long body with light specks without scales and a large toothy snout.Reach 3 meters. During the day they sit in rocks and corals with their muzzles sticking out. Moray eels can attack a person near their shelter, but they rarely do this. She especially avoids people of large build, but children need to be wary of her and not swim close to stones and corals or be extremely careful.