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



Hallucinatory fish poisoning (ichthyoallyeinotoxic fish)

Clinical entries

For clinical data see section “Risk” below


Certain reef fish species from the following families are associated with this type of poisoning:

  1. Acanthuridae
  2. Kyphosidae
  3. Mullidae
  4. Mugilidae
  5. Pomacentridae
  6. Serranidae
  7. Siganidae


Pisces; Osteichthyes; Perciformes

Common names

  1. Surgeonfishe, Doktorfische
  2. Rudderfishes, Pilotbarsche
  3. Goatfishes, Meerbarben 
  4. Mullets, Meeräschen
  5. Damselfishes, Riffbarsche 
  6. Groupers, Zackenbarsche 
  7. Rabbitfishes, Kaninchenfische


Cases of poisoning in the tropical Indian and Pacific Oceans.


Ichthyoallyeinotoxic fish typically inhabit coral reefs and belong to the order of perch-like fishes (Perciformes). Heat-stable toxins are located primarily in the head, especially in the brain and in the spinal cord, also but to a lesser extent in muscle tissue.


This type of poisoning is sporadic, uncommon and absolutely unpredictable. Outbreaks are known to occur in Hawaii and on the Fiji Islands. Cases of poisoning in Hawaii occur only in the months of June, July and August. In comparison to the more severe forms of poisoning, such as ciguatera or paralytic shellfish poisoning, this form is classed as mild. There have been no know fatalities.

All the families of fish listed above may also cause ciguatera poisoning.

Signs and symptoms

Symptoms develop within the first 2 hours after consumption, and the toxins primarily affect the central nervous system. They last for about 24 hours and then disappear entirely (Halstead 2001a): dizziness, loss of equilibrium, lack of motor coordination, hallucinations and mental depression. Sensation of tight constriction around the chest. Terror, nightmares. Itching, burning of the throat, muscular weakness, rarely abdominal distress.


Symptomatic, see also ciguatera poisoning.

Literature (biological)

Halstead 1988, 2001a, Helfrich 1963