Reef First Aid Vertebrate Envenomations


Active Member
Rays have a potent defense mechanism with 1-4 sharp barbed protrusions on their whip-like tail. If cornered or scared they will flick out their tail imbedding the spine in the unwary aggitator. Pain is immediate along with local redness and swelling. Severe envenomations can cause necrosis (death) if fat and muscle cells, systemic toxicity causes cardiovascular collaspe and death. Fortunately most envenomations are local and minor.
Scorpionfish (Stonefish, Lions,)
The venom of the scorpionfish is considered by some experts to be as potent as that of the cobra!!! Think carefully before purchasing one of these animals for your tank. The venom appears to produce direct muscular toxicity. Pain is immediate and intense. Treatment must be started immediately to prevent systemic toxicity. The lionfish is the least toxic with the stonefish considered the most toxic. I would recommend the hobbyist NOT KEEP Stonefish.
Treatment is the same for all of the vertebrate envenomations. Removal of any spines visible and irrigation to remove venom. Hot water immersion in 45C or 115F water is next. Basically het the water as hot as you can stand. Soak for 30-90 minutes. I would recommend that all scorpionfish/stingray envemonations be treated by a physician immediately. You can start the hot water therapy on the way to the ER
I hope you have found these threads to be informative and helpful. Your local emergency room doctors will have the information and training to help you-go there. Some poison control centers can help, but I feel the ER is the place to treat anything other that a minor rash from envenomation. Do not be afraid to call an ambulace if you feel weak,dizzy, short of breath, or have swelling to your face tongue or mouth. Let family know these treatments and to call for help if something happens.
If anyone has ? let me know!!!


Hey Oscarduece. I'd also like to add, that depending on the system in your area, A quick call to 911 would be in order. All of our trucks our advanced life support and carry narcotics for pain relief as well as several drugs for allergic reactions. Keep the articles coming.


Being a victim of a stingray barb (while wade fishing), the info provided above is dead on. Soaking in hot water helps a lot. One still should get it looked at.