Longsnout Stingerfish, Inimicus didactylus Click to enlarge image
A Longsnout Stingerfish at a depth of 8m, off Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, 23 October 2009. Image: Erik Schlögl
© Erik Schlögl

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    didactylus
    Genus
    Inimicus
    Family
    Synanceiidae
    Order
    Scorpaeniformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    18 cm

Introduction

The Longsnout Stingerfish has poisonous dorsal fin spines that can inflict an excruciatingly painful sting.



Identification

Three species of Inimicus occur in Australian waters. These are the Longsnout Stingerfish, Demon Stingerfish and the Spotted Stonefish. They can be separated by a combination of characters that include the colouration of the inner surface of the pectoral fin of live fish.

The inner surface of the pectoral fin of the Longsnout Stinger has a dark base and a dark margin. The Demon Stingerfish has two dark bands and a pale margin on the inner surface of the pectoral fin. The Spotted Stonefish's inner pectoral surface is dark with white blotches.


Longsnout Stingerfish, Inimicus didactylus
A Longsnout Stingerfish at a depth of 8 m, off Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, 23 October 2009. Image: Erik Schlögl
© Erik Schlögl

Habitat

The species normally occurs on muddy or sandy seabeds in coastal waters.

Distribution

In Australia the species is known from marine waters of north-western Western Australia to the Northern Territory.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.



Danger to humans

Wounds from the dorsal spines of the Longsnout Stingerfish (indeed all species of Inimicus) are extremely painful.

References

  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
  2. Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and Shore Fishes of the South Pacific. University of Hawai'i Press. Pp. 707.
  3. Michael, S.W. 1998. Reef Fishes. Vol. 1. Microcosm. Pp.624.