Thanks to a sharp, scalpel-like spine at the base of its tail, the yellowfin surgeonfish is armed and dangerous—able to fend off any predator that gets too close. See this beautiful fish for yourself in our newest special exhibition, ¡Viva Baja! Life on the Edge.
It may look harmless enough, but the striped surgeonfish of the Indo-Pacific sports a venomous spine. Scientists estimate that 50,000 people are injured a year from contact with the world’s 1,200 species of venomous fish. The poisons are also being investigated for use in new drugs.
The famous Dory is a member of the surgeonfish family. These fish have extremely sharp scalpel-like spines near its tail that it extends when excited. These can cause deep cuts and infections in those who handle the fish.