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



Fish with poisonous livers (ichthyohepatotoxic)

Clinical entries

For clinical data see section “Risk” below


Certain species from the following orders and families are associated with this type of poisoning:
A. Squaliformes (Sharks)

  1. Carcharhinidae
  2. Dalatiidae
  3. Hexanchidae
  4. Isuridae
  5. Scyliorhinidae
  6. Sphyrnidae


B. Rajiformes (Rays)

  1. Dasyatidae
  2. Myliobatidae
  3. Rajidae
  4. Torpedinidae


C. Perciformes (Perch-like fishes)

  1. Scomberomorus niphonius (Scombridae)
  2. Stereolepis ischinagi (Serranidae)
  3. Petrus rupestris (Sparidae)
  4. Arctoscopus japonicus (Trichodontidae)


A and B: Pisces; Chondrichthyes; Elasmobranchii; C: Pisces; Osteichthyes

Common names


  1. Requiem sharks, Bluesharks, Blauhaie 
  2. Sleeper sharks, Unechte Dornhaie
  3. Cow sharks, Grauhaie 
  4. Mackerel sharks, Makrelenhaie 
  5. Cat sharks, Katzenhaie 
  6. Hammerhead sharks, Hammerhaie



  1. Stingrays, Stachelrochen
  2. Eagle rays, Adlerrochen 
  3. Skates, eigentliche Rochen 
  4. Electric rays, Zitterrochen



  1. Japanese mackerel 
  2. Sea bass, Japanischer Judenfisch
  3. Porgy 
  4. Japanese sandfish, Japanischer Sandfisch


A and B:

Fish from tropical regions in particular are considered dangerous



  1. Japan, Korea, northern China
  2. Japan, Korea
  3. South Africa
  4. from Japan and Korea to Alaska


The fish listed here all sea dwellers. Perch-like fishes and sharks possess heat-stable toxins predominantly in the liver; in rays it is believed that toxins can be found more in the musculature and viscera. There are indications that higher doses of vitamin A are responsible for the toxic effects. It is not clear whether the liver is always poisonous, or whether its toxin content is subject to seasonal variations. The poisoning syndrome caused by the consumption of sharks and rays is sometimes also called "elasmobranch poisoning".


Most reports of poisoning due to consumption of shark date back to the first half of the 20th century and earlier. No fatalities have been reported. As with rays, for which there is also a lack of clinical data, it is not certain to what extent the observed syndromes might actually have been due to ciguatera.

Cases of poisoning due to the consumption of liver from the above-named perch-like fishes have been observed in Japan. Several of the species listed here may also be associated with scombroid and ciguatera poisoning (see Table 4.1).

Signs and symptoms

According to Halstead (2001a), the following signs of poisoning appear 30 min to 12 hours after consumption: nausea, vomiting, fever and headache. The face usually becomes flushed and oedematous and a macular rash develops. Large areas of skin may peel off. Desquamation may continue for about 30 days. Most of the acute symptoms disappear in about 3–4 days.


Symptomatic. See also scombroid poisoning and ciguatera poisoning.

Literature (biological)

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