Rabbitfishes & scats

Stings from rabbitfishes (Siganus species; also known as spinefeet, Black Trevally, or Happy Moments) and scats (family Scatophagidae) are very similar in their characteristics. Both groups are common in estuaries and coastal waters throughout Queensland and are often encountered by anglers and commercial fishers. Stings usually occur when these fishes are being removed from nets, spears and hooks.

When handled, these fish fully erect their long dorsal and anal fin spines, which can easily puncture the skin if they are not firmly secured. Wounds inflicted in this manner introduce venom into the surrounding tissues and are extremely painful. The severity of the sting depends on the number of puncture wounds and amount of venom injected.

In severe cases affected limbs may become extremely swollen. Occasionally the pain may reach the point of causing delirium in the victim. This can prevent the safe operation of machinery, equipment, boats, or motor vehicles. Anyone seriously envenomated should seek immediate assistance with performing all responsible tasks, at least until pain is under control and the condition is stabilised.

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