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Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases

On-line version ISSN 1678-9199

J. Venom. Anim. Toxins incl. Trop. Dis vol.16 no.3 Botucatu  2010 



Are weight, length and amount of venom related in scorpionfish?



Vieira RPI; Barreiros JPII

IFaculty of Sciences and Technology, University of Algarve, Faro, Portugal
IIDepartment of Agrarian Sciences and IMAR Azores, University of the Azores, Angra do Heroísmo, Portugal

Correspondence to



Dear Sir,

We are investigating an evident relationship among weight, length and the amount of glandular venom tissue collected from the dorsal spines of a scorpionfish species. The Scorpaenidae Helicolenus dactylopterus dactylopterus is considered dangerous and has been associated with accidents involving humans, mostly fishermen (1). While these descriptions have been widely reported, data on venoms from northeastern Atlantic species are scarce. Preliminary findings from this ongoing study suggest a positive but non-significant correlation between the animal size and the quantity and density of toxins produced. Moreover, although the size of the spines is inversely proportional to the size of individuals, it is the largest fish that has longer spines, and therefore probably causes more severe injuries. The bluemouth rockfish is a species of high commercial value and it is expected that artisanal fishermen constitute the largest risk group, which corroborates our observations that most accidents occur by negligent handling of hooked fish.

Symptom intensity varies according to the fish size and the quantity of injected venom. Consequently, accidents involving humans could represent significant economic and health problems. Therefore, it is important to perform further studies on this subject to improve the knowledge on bioactive toxins of these venoms, which may advance therapeutic techniques (2). The present text also represents the first statement on the venomous glandular tissue of a Scorpaenidae species from the northeastern Atlantic.



1. Haddad Jr V, Martins I, Makyama H. Injuries caused by scorpionfishes (Scorpaena plumieri Bloch, 1789 and Scorpaena brasiliensis Cuvier, 1829) in the south-western Atlantic Ocean (Brazilian coast): epidemiologic, clinic and therapeutic aspects of 23 stings in humans. Toxicon. 2003;42(1):79-83.         [ Links ]

2. Carrijo LC, Andrich F, de Lima ME, Cordeiro MN, Richardson M, Figueiredo SG. Biological properties of the venom from the scorpionfish (Scorpaena plumieri) and purification of a gelatinolytic protease. Toxicon. 2005;45(7):843-50.         [ Links ]



Correspondence to:
João P. Barreiros
Universidade dos Açores, Departamento de Ciências Agrárias
Angra do Heroísmo, 9701-851, Portugal
Phone: +351 295402223

Submission status
Received: February 24, 2010.
Accepted: February 24, 2010.
Full paper published online: August 31, 2010.



There is no conflict.

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