Longsnout Stingerfish, Inimicus didactylus (Pallas, 1769)
Longsnout Stinger, Bearded Ghoulfish, Demon Stinger
The Longsnout Stingerfish has poisonous dorsal fin spines that can inflict an excruciatingly painful sting.
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.
The species normally occurs on muddy or sandy seabeds in coastal waters.
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.
- Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
- Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and Shore Fishes of the South Pacific. University of Hawai'i Press. Pp. 707.
- Michael, S.W. 1998. Reef Fishes. Vol. 1. Microcosm. Pp.624.