A new addition to the Armored and Venomous exhibit is bringing even more color to our Tropical Galleries on Level 1. A bright red stonefish was just added alongside the lionfish, scorpionfish, and pufferfish. Get a load of his color!
Our aquarists say that color is more likely for camouflage rather than for breeding. But that lipstick red? It obviously doesn’t blend. But he still has a clean bill of health, according to our vets and aquarists.
This species is dimorphic in size, meaning males and females are usually different sizes—like fur seals and sea lions, for example. This fella is one of two of this species (Synanceia horrida; estuarine stonefish) in the exhibit. The other is only half his size (you can barely see it buried in the sand in the picture above), so our colorful friend has picked up the nickname of Andre because of his huge size. These fish are considered one of the most venomous fish in the world (the other being Synanceia verrucosa, which is also in this exhibit!).
How does an aquarist feed and care for some of the world’s most venomous fish? Carefully! Anyone working in this exhibit must wear thick protective gloves and always work alongside a buddy who can act immediately in case of an accidental stick.