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J Venom Anim Toxins Incl Trop Dis. 2015 Mar 20;21:8. doi: 10.1186/s40409-015-0007-x. eCollection 2015.

Report of 15 injuries caused by lionfish (pterois volitans) in aquarists in Brazil: a critical assessment of the severity of envenomations.

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Departament of Dermatology and Radiotherapy, Botucatu Medical School, Univ Estadual Paulista (UNESP), Caixa Postal 557, Botucatu, São Paulo State 18618-970 Brasil.
Vital Brazil Hospital, Butantan Institute, São Paulo, São Paulo State Brazil.
Department of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases, School of Medicine, University of São Paulo (USP), São Paulo, São Paulo State Brazil.
Private Clinic, Ubatuba, São Paulo State Brazil.


Lionfish are venomous fish that belong to the Scorpaenidae family. Individuals of this family and those of the Synanceiidae family comprise most of the existing venomous fish in the world. Lionfish are originally found in the Indo-Pacific, but they have received special attention in the last years for their dissemination in the Atlantic Ocean, with the emergence of large populations in the USA, Caribbean and South America. Because of its beauty, this fish has always been present in private and commercial aquariums around the world. Herein, we describe 15 envenomations in aquarists registered in a period of eighteen years (1997-2014). The stings caused excruciating pain and marked inflammation, with local erythema, edema, heat, paleness and cyanosis. In one case, it was possible to observe vesicles and blisters. There were no skin necroses or marked systemic manifestations. We discuss the possible coming of the fish to South America and the circumstances and clinical impact of the envenomations.


Animals invasions; Aquarism; Envenomations; Lionfish; Pterois miles; Pterois volitans; Venomous fish

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