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Poisonous animals
Cnidarians (Jellyfish, Corals and Anemones)
Venomous fish
Hymenopterans (Bees, Wasps and Ants)
Sea snakes
Terrestrial snakes
Miscellaneous animals



Gempylotoxic fish

Clinical entries

For clinical data see section “Risk” below


Ruvettus pretiosus (Gempylidae)


Pisces; Osteichthyes; Perciformes

Common names

Oilfish, Escolar, Ölfisch


Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans.


Elongated, spindle-shaped fish with a length of up to 1.8 or even 2 m and may rech a weight of over 60 kg. Often at depths deeper than 200 m, ascending higher in the water column at night. The flesh has a very high oil content and contains waxy esters too; it is estimated for the dense structure especially by Polynesians. The oil/waxy eters have a laxative effect that is not eliminated through boiling or frying. Other fish whose oil can cause a similar effect are Erilepis zonifer (Skilfish, Anoplopomatidae) and Allocuttus Verucosus ("John Dory", Zeidae).


As these fish do not taste particularly good, they are not eaten frequently and thus poisoning only occurs rarely. Cases are usually mild and are thus not necessarily recognised as being fish poisoning. The Escolar is also potentially ciguatoxic.

Literature (biological)

Halstead 1988, 2001a, Auerbach and Halstead 1989, Bagnis et al. 1970