The stonefish is the most venomous fish on planet earth. A delicacy in Asia, stonefish are sometimes displayed in aquariums because of their strange features.
Like their name suggests, stonefish look like rocks. They have crusty brown and gray skin with red and yellow patches. Covered in spikes that release venom when touched, a stonefish's venom can cause severe pain, paralysis, and even death.
There are five different species of the stonefish. Usually found in the coastal areas of the Indian and the Pacific Ocean, all stonefish live close to coral reefs and underwater rocks. They are also typically found under the sand in shallow waters.
Stonefish can live between five to 10 years. They weigh up to five pounds and grow to be 14 to 20 inches long. Unlike most fish, stonefish can live up to 24 hours outside of water. This aquatic species has interesting reproductive habits. Female stonefish can lay about a million eggs at one time on the ocean floor. Many predators see the eggs as snacks. Therefore, only a few grow to be adults. When the eggs hatch, they are released into the open sea where they again face the threat of hungry predators.
The stonefish is a carnivore and eats other fish and shrimp. It hunts its prey by surprising it. Humans who like to eat stonefish have to be careful not to be surprised as well!