(Photo found here)
The dangerous reef stonefish (Synanceia verrucosa), also known as the common stonefish, fish stone, reef stone, poison scorpionfish, and dornorn is extremely well camouflaged, looking like an encrusted rock or lump of coral. Individuals are usually brown or grey and may have patches of yellow, orange, or red. Reef Stonefish grow to 35 cm in length, although 50 cm ‘monsters’ have been reported. The Reef Stonefish is widely distributed throughout tropical, marine waters of the Indo-Pacific. In Australia it is recorded from much of the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, to far northern New South Wales. They usually live on rubble or coral bottoms, often under rocks or ledges, but are also known to be able to bury in sand using their large pectoral fins. The Reef Stonefish is the most venomous fish in the world. It has thirteen stout dorsal fin spines which can inject an extremely poisonous venom. The sting causes excruciating pain and a great deal of swelling rapidly develops causing death to tissues. The severity of the symptoms depends on the depth of penetration and the number of spines penetrated. The symptoms of the venom are muscle weakness, temporary paralysis and shock, which may result in death if not treated. There is an antivenom available. Very hot water (not scalding) can be used to relieve the pain, but medical treatment should be sought immediately. It is also advised that one should not attempt to restrict the movement of the injected toxin.
This Pygmy Seahorse Hippocampus bargibanti is perfectly camouflaged in its coral home
See this previous post for more on pygmy seahorses.
(Image found here)
This 1,091-pound colossal squid was frozen in a New Zealand lab after a fishing crew accidentally caught it near Antarctica in February 2007. Colossal squids (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni) Also known as Antarctic cranch squids, are one of the largest, most elusive, and mysterious of the cephalopods (see this post for more on cephalopods). These massive squids are reported to measure up to 14m in total length with mantle lengths of about 2-4m (keep in mind these are only reported lengths). These amazing creatures were first identified in 1925 when two colossal squid arms were recovered from a sperm whale’s stomach. Since then, few specimens have been recovered and there is still very little known about this species. Colossal squids have eyes that measure about 25cm in diameter which are thought to be the largest eyes in the entire animal kingdom. They also have the largest beaks of any squid, which makes them a fearsome predator, along with the 25 rotating hooks found in two rows on the ends of their tentacles. Colossal squids,are a deep-water species, probably living deeper than 1000m which makes it very difficult for scientists to gather data on them (though juveniles have been found above 1000m to the surface). So far they have had to depend mostly on juvenile specimens caught by deep sea trawlers. Colossal squids have been found in waters surrounding the Antarctic, primarily south of 40°S. The sperm whale is a known predator of colossal squid in the Southern Ocean.