The World's Most Venomous Fish: 7 Facts About Stonefish

Stonefish | © prilfish / Flickr
Ellie Griffiths

One of the deadliest animals in Australia can produce venom that is most lethal to humans. The stonefish also has the ability to hide itself in its surroundings, so next time you’re out diving or exploring the ocean floor be prepared and keep an extra eye out for this creature.

They are the most venomous fish in the world

The venom that is produced by stonefish is some of the most venomous in the world, and is fatal to humans. For a complete recovery, a sufficient amount of anti-venom is required quickly to reverse the effects, which start with excruciating pain and swelling. These symptoms develop rapidly causing paralysis, tissue necrosis and even heart failure.


They have excellent camouflage skills

Covered in encrusted brown or grey skin with yellow, orange and red patches, the stonefish has the capability to camouflage very well with their surrounding environment. Not only are they difficult to notice, but due to their size (between 30 and 40 centimetres) they are often mistaken for a stone or part of a coral reef.

Their venom sacs are found in their 13 spines

Since they’re so difficult to notice, stonefish are often stepped on, which activates the venom sacs. Along their back, stonefish have 13 spines with glands at the base of each one that hold the venom. This venom is only used as a defense mechanism and is released when pressure is applied to their spines; stonefish do not use their venom for hunting.


They can attack their prey in as little as 0.015 seconds

As carnivores, the stonefish’s diet mainly consists of various shrimps and other fish. Due to their excellent camouflage skills they are able to attack their prey using the element of surprise. They wait patiently for something to swim by, then can attack and swallow their prey in as little as 0.015 seconds. Despite this incredible speed, they are generally very slow swimmers.

They are responsible for many stings every year

Since the arrival of Europeans on Australian shores there have been no recorded deaths from stonefish stings in the country, despite this most venomous fish in the world hiding in the waters. However, many people have suffered stonefish stings by unintentionally stepping on them, resulting in anti-venom being created in the late 1950s to prevent the worst from happening.


They can survive out of water for up to 24 hours

As long as their surrounding area remains moist, stonefish can survive up to 24 hours by absorbing oxygen through their skin. This is often seen during retreating tides, which leave them partially exposed; however, after this they will generally die from suffocation and dehydration.

They feature in an ancient Australian Aboriginal dance ritual

Having witnessed the excruciating pain caused by stonefish for hundreds of years, Aborigines performed an ancient dance ritual as a lesson. To teach others about the dangers of this creature, the dancer displays this agony before jolting to the ground and succumbing to death.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.