One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A chiefly marine fish of bizarre appearance which lives in the tropical Indo-Pacific. It rests motionless in the sand with its venomous dorsal spines projecting and is a frequent cause of injury to swimmers.
Family Synanceiidae: several genera and species, including Synanceia verrucosa (also called devilfish)
- ‘Early morning, the light on the south side is blue and diffuse, and you have all the time in the world to get lost among the stonefish, boxfish, turtles, coral trout and, of course, the multicoloured riot of soft corals.’
- ‘Snake eels, blue-ribbon eels, exotic dragonets, inimicus scorpionfish, stonefish, seahorses and a host of other well-camouflaged species will slowly reveal themselves.’
- ‘In Australia, bottlenose dolphins place sponges over their snouts as protection from the spines of stonefish and stingrays as they forage over shallow seabeds.’
- ‘Inimicus didactylus is feared by those who come in contact with it due to its painful, venomous spines and resemblance to more deadly stonefishes.’
- ‘Harboring death for its victims in each of its 13 dorsal spines, a stonefish takes its time and lies quietly on the ocean floor.’
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