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

Genus/Species

 

Scatophagidae, Scats

Clinical entries

For clinical data see section “Risk” below

Taxonomy

Osteichthyes; Perciformes

Common names

Scats, Spadefishes, Argusfische

Distribution

Coastal regions (seawater, brackish water and freshwater) of the tropical Indo-Pacific, from Southeast Asia to northern Australia, Melanesia and Polynesia.

Biology

Small family with only 4 species in 2 genera (Scatophagus and Selenotoca). Body greatly compressed laterally, high back, not longer than 35 cm. Often found in harbours or sewage areas, where they feed on putrescible waste, among other matter (Scatophagus = faeces eater).

11–12 spines on the dorsal fin and 1 on each of the pelvic fins are equipped with venom glands. They are most prominent in the juvenile fish and in Scatophagus argus become considerably smaller over the course of the fish’s growth. In Selenotoca multifasciata they disappear completely with age.

Risk

As scatophagids are edible, careless handling when catching or preparing these fish can lead to painful stings. Severe, radiating pain.

Treatment

Symptomatic.

Literature (biological)

Cameron and Endean 1970, 1972, Halstead 1988