Watch Your Step! Stonefish--Needles of Pain by Meish Goldish
Stonefish are among the most toxic creatures in the ocean. They are also one of the strangest-looking fish. They get their name from their appearance--they look a lot like stones or rocks. Their bodies have a hard covering that is bumpy and crusty.
Stonefish are unlikely to win any beauty or popularity contests. Equipped by nature with two protective attributes--nearly perfect camouflage and deadly toxins in their spines--they are a danger to humans splashing around in the shallows of the sea in their habitat, principally the shallows waters encircling the Indian Ocean and bordering Indonesia, Malaysia, southern China, and the northern coast of Australia.
When people step on a stonefish, they are injected with venom that is stored in glands under the fish's skin. The venom travels up 13 needle-like spines that are on the fish's back. Each spine is covered with flesh. If someone touches the fish, the spines rise from their fleshy covers and jab the person's skin.
Meish Goldish's recent Stonefish: Needles of Pain (Afraid of the Water) (Bearport, 2009) describes both the absorbing facts about this exotic fish and the dangers of its potentially deadly toxic spines. Full-page photos portray the stunning ability of this species to make themselves invisible in their coral reef habitats, and smoothly written text describes the habitat and behavior of young and mature stonefish.
This appealing photo essay is backed up with advice for immediate care for stings and an appendix which includes a section on "Other Things That Sting" (lionfish and stingrays), an inclusive glossary of special terms introduced in the text, a bibliography and suggested reading list, and index. Additionally, Bearport Publishing also offers a proprietary web site for more information on the animals covered in their new Afraid of the Water series.