Fishes are undoubtedly one of the most beautiful creatures of nature. They are extremely graceful and adorn many of our homes away from their own natural habitats in an artificial environment created by humans. Apart from serving ornamental purposes, they also happen to be a major source of protein. Hence, it is no wonder that fish happens to be the staple diet in many a societies. There are abundant varieties of this particular species and not all of them are benevolent. This list tries to compile ten of the most dangerous fishes in the world by virtue of their looks, characteristics and ability to inflict damage to other creatures, particularly humans.
10. Red Lionfish
It is ironic indeed that the Lionfish species belongs to the Scorpion fish family- Scorpaenidae. The species is established in the reef ecosystems of South Pacific, United States, Gulf of Mexico and in the Caribbean Sea. In the absence of its natural predators and rapid rate of reproduction, it has managed to wipe out many of the natural species of the system. They possess dorsal fins which are venomous and capable of striking painful, if not always fatal, puncture wounds. Zebra like patterns are particular to each species of theirs and they spread their dorsal fins once disturbed and attack with their fins in defense on further disturbances.
9. Puffer Fish
Puffer fish, also known as blowfish or swellfish, belongs to family Tetraodontidae. These fish are commonly represented in cartoons and comics as the ones who puff themselves up when disturbed or attacked. True to their name, these fish under threat, puff themselves up with air and water into a globular structure. Their skin is tough and prickly and their teeth fused. They are generally found in warm and temperate regions. Some species of the same are highly poisonous due to the presence of the potent toxin Tetraodontoxin concentrated in the internal organs. Specially trained chefs clean and prepare the fish in Japan where it is eaten.
8. Goonch Fish
Found generally in the rivers of South and Southeast Asia, it belongs to the catfish family of genus Bagarius. This fish has extremely sharp teeth and grows over seven feet long in case of some species. It is considered particularly dangerous due to its fondness for human flesh. It has reportedly been responsible for the numerous instances of human disappearances in the river Mahakali which is Nepal’s western border with India.
7. Great White Shark
This shouldn’t come as a surprise since movies like Jaws have managed to capture the brutality of this particular species. In areas where they are the predominant species, white sharks are responsible for many fatal and unprovoked attacks on humans. Their tendency, generally, is to inflict a single bite but rarely do they return for a second bite. Usually, small bites need not necessarily be fatal and the victims make it back to safety. But in case of large bites, there are chances of major tissue and organ damage, causing death immediately.
If size mattered, elephant would be the King of the Jungle. Vandellia cirrhosa or Candiru is a classic example to this particular phrase by figuring in a prominent position in this list despite being about 2.5 cm in length and 3.5mm in width. It is a parasitic catfish belonging to the family Trichomycteridae. It survives by feeding on blood and urine from which it derives its main source of nutrition: urea. It is generally found in the gill cavities of other fishes. It attacks humans in a very personal sort of way. Being small in size it easily enters the body of swimmers through the anus, vagina or penis and perches itself there. Inflammation is caused due to the erection of its gill spines once in the passage which might lead to bleeding and eventually cause death. In other cases, amputation remains the only solution to put an end to the extreme pain it causes its victims which makes the fish very dangerous.
Piranhas are no strangers due to their prominence in popular representation. Especially with a movie of the same name with the fish attacking the people in the beach, which though might have slightly exaggerated its ferocity. Most species feed on plant material or are scavengers. This carnivorous fish is native to the South American rivers and lakes. They come in a range of colors varying from silvery with orange undersides to completely black in some cases. They can be extremely beautiful to look at despite their villainous reputation. They are attracted to the smell of blood though they rarely kill, depending more on scavenging. They have razor sharp triangular teeth, blunt heads and strong jaws along with deep bodies and saw-edged bellies. The bulk of the species rarely grow beyond sixty centimeters. Red bellied Piranhas set out to look for its prey very strategically by forming search parties to scout. On finding prey they call out to the rest of the group and each one takes a bite and makes room for others ensuring everyone with food. Piranhas have excellent hearing capabilities. Piranhas almost never kill large animals and their attack on humans are even rarer.
4. Stone Fish
The name says it all. Resembling a stone, the fish matches its environment perfectly and cannot be distinguished until stepped on. Native to the shallow waters of tropical Indo-Pacific, it belongs to the family Synancejidae. As its nature suggests, it lives among rock beds and mud flats,its movements are sluggish though preferably, it remains immobile and blends with its surroundings. This requirement then shapes its features like the thick set head, wart like lumps on its skin and the skin flaps that allow it to rest at the bottom. On being stepped on, it injects deadly amounts of poison through its dorsal spine grooves. These wounds can be extremely painful and sometimes, even fatal.
3. Atlantic Manta
They belong to the family Mobulidae and are also known as devil rays. Wider than they are large and flattened, their pectoral fins are enlarged to form a structure that resemble wings and an extension of these fins also form something that just happens to resemble like horns and are called devil’s horns. They have short whip like tails and single or multiple spines which sting. They eat plankton and small fish which they sweep into their mouth with the help of their horns. These are found swimming close to the surface of water with the help of their pectoral fins which are in this case brought to use just like wings, that is by flapping them.
2. Boxjelly Fish
Boxjelly Fish is distinguished from its other family members by a more developed nervous system and an actual pair of eyes. The most dangerous species of boxjelly fish is restricted to the tropical Indo-Pacific region though other species are distributed across the tropical and semi-tropical regions. The Medusa form of this jellyfish has a square box-like bell, earning it its name and has one or more hollow tentacles. It can move more swiftly than other jellyfish due to structural advantages. Certain boxjelly species have a highly potent venom which can cause death within a few minutes. The venom attacks the cardiac activity by slowing down the heart rate of the victim.
1. Electric Eel
Electrophorus electricus is an elongated fish native to South America and discharges electricity to stun its prey which usually is other fish but occasionally humans too. Its mouth is rich with blood vessels, enabling it to act as a lung-like structure. It is capable of discharging electric current in the range 300-650 volts which is powerful enough to stun a human. The electric shock by the eel to stun its prey supposedly developed to protect its sensitive mouth from struggling spiny fish. This evolution now lets the eel suck the prey directly into the stomach keeping its mouth protected.