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Number 9 Boxfish
Boxfishes may be small but that doesn’t mean they’re easy prey. In fact, few marine predators can actually eat adult boxfishes. This is because, whenever threatened, these fish can secrete toxins from their skin which act as a chemical defense mechanism. The mucus secreted from the skin of some members of the boxfish family contains pahutoxin, a water-soluble, crystalline chemical toxin. This is unique among known fish poisons and can break down or destroy red blood cells.
Number 8 Acanthuridae
The Acanthuridae family contains more than 86 extant species of unicornfish, tangs and surgeonfish. Many of them are brightly colored and therefore a popular addition to aquariums all over the world. These marine fish typically inhabit tropical seas and they’re most common around coral reefs. Most Acanthuridae species are small with lengths of 6 to 15.5 inches. One distinctive feature of the family makes these fishes quite dangerous. On either side of the tail, they have scalpel-like spines which are extremely sharp.
Number 7 Red Lionfish
Lionfish are known as fish that can do serious damage because of their venomous fin rays that deliver painful puncture wounds. The venom is quite potent and, on rare occasions, can be fatal for humans. These fish are easily recognizable by their zebra-like stripes, enlarged pectoral fins and elongated dorsal fin spines. Whenever the lionfish feels threatened it will spread and present its fins before attacking with the dorsal spines. One common species is the red lionfish, which grows about 12 inches long and features red, white and brown stripes on its body.
Number 6 Piranha
No list of dangerous fish is complete without the blood thirsty piranha. There are over 60 piranha species found in river systems ranging from northern Argentina to Colombia. Piranhas have deep bodies, saw-edged bellies, blunt heads, incredibly strong jaws and razor-sharp interlocking teeth. Most species rarely exceed 2 feet in length. During the dry season, when the water is low, groups of piranhas called shoals converge in feeding frenzies to take on large prey. These groups can sometimes consist of more than 100 piranhas each charging in to tear a chunk of flesh off their prey. Piranhas are also known to be attracted to blood in the water.
Number 5 Pufferfish
Also known as blowfish or balloonfish, pufferfish are among the most poisonous vertebrates in the world. There are around 90 species in the Tetraodontidae family and most of them are small to medium in size. They’re found in warm and temperate regions around the world, usually in the sea but also in brackish or fresh water, in some cases. They’ve several defense mechanisms. Pufferfish have excellent eyesight and can use their tail fins as rudders to generate sudden bursts of speed. Their best known adaptation for survival is its ability to fill its highly elastic stomach with air or water until the entire fish becomes almost spherical in shape.
Number 4 Stonefish
The stonefish is one of the most venomous fish known to man. These creatures live in mud flats and estuaries among rocks or coral formations in the coastal regions of the Indo-Pacific. The stonefish draws its name from its appearance which seamlessly blends with the fish’s surrounding environment. They’ve thick bodies with large heads and mouths and bumpy skin covered with wart-like lumps and fleshy flaps. When resting, unmoving on the sea floor, it’s very difficult to detect.
Number 3 Stargazer
The stargazer has been called ‘the meanest thing in creation’. In addition to their terrifying appearance, some species can deliver venom as well as electric shocks. Stargazers draw their name from the fact that their eyes are placed on top of their heads, as if they’re ‘looking at the stars’. They can be found all over the world in deep and shallow salt waters.
Number 2 Candiru
Also known as the toothpick or vampire fish, this parasitic catfish is native to the Amazon Basin and found in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Brazil and Bolivia. The smaller candiru species are known for their tendency of invading and parasitizing the human urethra.
Number 1 Sheepshead
This deep-bodied flat fish is commonly found on the Gulf and the Atlantic coasts of North America. The sheepshead has a silver body with 5 to 7 broad, dark vertical bands. It has a short mouth, finely serrated scales and sharp dorsal spines. The sheepshead can reach 35 inches in length and weigh more than 25 pounds, although such proportions are rare. The most unusual aspect about this species is its dentition which is eerily similar to that of human beings.