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Reef Stonefish

Common name for a species of reef fish, with the scientific designation Synanceia verrucosa, and which is listed as the most venomous fish in the world. This carnivorous ray-finned fish feeds on mostly small fish, and crustaceans, such as shrimp. It lives on reef bottoms camouflaged as a rock and has 13 venomous spines, that are located on the dorsal area and which can be lethal to humans. Despite the toxicity of its spines, the meat of the Reef Stonefish is consumed in several countries of eastern Asia, including in Vietnam, the Philippines and Hong Kong. It generally grows to a length of around 40 centimeters, though larger specimens have also been recorded. Its main colour can be beige, brown, grey or red, but –to enhance its camouflage– it often has a mixture of several, if not all, of the aforementioned colours, as well as areas of orange and yellow. In Thai, this fish species is called pla karang hin  (ปลากะรังหิน), i.e. coral stonefish, or –alternatively– as pla karang hua khon (ปลากะรังหัวโขน), which translates as ‘khon mask coral fish’, referring to its shape as seen from aside, which is reminiscent of a Thai khon mask, with a chadah-style conocal crown and the head of a human, reusi or yak figure (fig.), including a distinguishable chin, nose and eyes (fig.). It is also commonly known as simply Stonefish.