Stonefish have notorious reputation due to their 14 venomous spines each fashioned with two venomous sacs that run along their backs.
The sacs contain a potent cocktail of venom that is designed to cause immense pain for anything silly enough to try and eat it such as sea snakes, eels and even turtles.
They’re venomous as soon as they hatch with no differences in the venom profiles of juveniles and adults. What’s really interesting is that stonefish are one of the few animals that use its venom for defense.
Milking venom from stonefish in the past involved killing the animal to cut out the venom sacks.
Professor Seymour and his team have developed a new technique which keeps the animal happy and healthy while giving Jamie and his team a regular supply of venom.
The team takes the stonefish out of the water (they can survive for up to 5 hours, due to the fact that they can hold water in their gill cavities and they they’re not very active so have a low oxygen demand) and places a wet towel over the head.
Think of it as a day spa for fish that decreases the visual stimulation and stress to the animal. A syringe is then inserted into the venom gland and the venom extracted.