RUDIGER LEHNEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY RUDIGER LEHNEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Reef stonefish. View of a reef stonefish (Synanceia verrucosa) amongst rocks. These bottom- dwelling fish live around coral reefs in the warm seas of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Their camouflage makes them indistinguishable from the rocks and reefs amongst which they hide. They wait immobile amongst rocks for their prey, smaller fish or crustaceans, and swallow them whole in an ambush. The fins along their back contain spines linked to poison glands, used in defence. Their similarity to stones has led to them being stepped on by humans, and their poison can be fatal within hours if medical attention is not received. Photographed at Dhiffushi, in the Maldive Islands.
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