If snakes weren’t enough

Edward Cucuel: The Bathers

If our childhood fears and nightmares of snakes (and even sharks or pirañas) weren’t enough, it appears that venomous fish outnumber snakes. Yes, you heard me correctly. There are enough poisonous fishies out there in lakes, rivers, seas, and oceans to produce a whole new series of horror films to terrify the young. Luckily most of them swim in tropical waters where people have more important tribulations than worrying about malevolent aquatic life. Here is the article that explains it all:

Venomous Fish Outnumber Snakes Robert Roy Britt
LiveScience Managing Editor
Tue Aug 22, 4:30 PM ET
It’s a good thing fish wouldn’t survive long if loose on a plane. A new study finds there are more venomous fish than venomous snakes.
The 1,200 presumably venomous fish tallied in a new study is six times previous estimates. Fish with a biting bite outnumber all other venomous vertebrates combined, in fact.
“The results of this research were quite surprising,” said researcher William Leo Smith of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
This might surprise you, too: More than 50,000 people are poisoned by fish bites every year, Smith and his colleague said. Symptoms range from blisters to death.
Watch out
Among the fish to look out for: lionfishes, catfishes, scorpionfishes, weeverfishes, toadfishes, surgeonfishes, scats, jacks, rabbitfishes, stargazers, and stonefishes. [Gallery of Venomous Fish]
Smith conducted the study along with Ward Wheeler, Curator in the Museum’s Division of Invertebrate Zoology. The results are reported in the Journal of Heredity.
Where are they all?
“Venomous fishes are in almost all habitats,” Smith told LiveScience. “They range from mountain streams to the depths of all oceans, but the vast majority of the most venomous fishes are in the tropics, he said.
There are also “plenty of venomous fishes” in the United States, but most are “not particularly harmful,” Smith said. Exceptions include a few scorpionfishes in California and the Western Atlantic.
“However, there is always the possibility of introduced species being quite venomous,” he said. “And, we have an example of this in the case of the lionfish/firefish, which became introduced in Florida, and now individuals can be collected at least as far north as Long Island in the fall.”
Should swimmers worry? “For the most part, no,” Smith said. “But people should always exercise caution when dealing with unfamiliar fishes or known venomous species.”
The good news
The study could be important for the development of new drugs. Venoms pack proteins that can be used to develop drugs to treat a range of ails from allergies to pain and even cancer, the scientists say. While many creatures have been tapped for drug development, fish remain a relatively untapped resource.
Six treatments for stroke or cancer developed from snake venom are nearing FDA review, the scientists point out. Scorpion venom has been used in a brain cancer treatment.
The new list was developed through DNA studies and morphological analysis of spiny-rayed fishes.
A separate study last year found there could be more than 1,500 venomous lizards.




Filed under Digressions

6 responses to “If snakes weren’t enough

  1. some might consider these creatures the worst thing of the island.

  2. btw, do you know what i like the most about the blogroll link section of this site?

    the fact that I am the only individual eric knows whose name/link in this site occupies two lines. Just take a look at all the average, normal people….one liners….now scroll down and take a look at the name that occupies more real state. Yup, that’s me yo, mad skilzz in that name, full of tasty treats and sweet delights so make an orderly line and wait your turn cause this pimp is coming to eeooouu town.

  3. Eric's Bro (Ryan)

    you really need to check out three movies:

    Darwin’s Nightmare; the Future of Food; and Unforgiveable Blackness.

    I know that the future of food could be found online at http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/

    but i just looked for it and could not find it. check out that webpage.

  4. eric

    Granuja!!!! Your website is like “bolas de navidad”, pure decoration. Home slice, you ain’t updated in at least 4 years.

  5. eric

    Thanks, Bro! The problem is that it is difficult to get these documentaries in Region 2 format in Europe. I will try, though.

  6. Eric's brother- the comment killer

    Check that webpage- there may be links there.

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