Stone and scorpion fish
The cardinal rule when diving: never touch anything while you’re in the ocean. There are many reasons why. When we touch fish we can cause them infections. If we touch or stand on corals they break. If we touch stone or scorpion fish we will be in the hospital in a lot of pain!
Stone and scorpion fish are part of the Scorpaeniformes family. This also includes the leaf and lion fish. All of which known to be highly venomous. The fish have very sharp needle like spines along their dorsal fins, that if touched or stood on will pierce the skin and inject the venom. Some dorsal fins can have up to 17 and pectoral fins up to 25 spines. More spines are on the head, face and near the gills. And also watch out for barbs on the anal and pelvic fins which have venom glands at their bases. Here is a link to first aid procedures for marine life injuries including venomous stings by stone, scorpion and lion fish.
Stone and scorpion fish are known to have the most potent neurotoxins. That cause serious pain, swelling and even death. Most species are bottom dwellers and in the Maldives you can usually find them resting along coral reefs. They are quite hard to spot due to their incredible camouflage.
Stone and scorpion fish use their camouflage to find food. They don’t actively hunt, they usually wait for their prey which are small fish and crustations to come to them. The prey will not realise the presence of the stone fish and once close enough it will quickly lash out by expanding its mouth to engulf the prey. You probably have seen this weird looking mouth and technique in some science fiction movies. Movie directors have copied this suction feeding technique from the underwater world.
So remember while you are in the ocean, not only should you not stand on the coral because you might break it, but you might also accidently stand on a stonefish!