Harmful Fish Group

  • Laith A. Jawad


Human injuries by the needlefish are attributable to its ability to leap out of the water at high speeds. Injury occurs via impalement of the needlefish beak. The injury produces a puncture wound, similar to a stab wound, often with the beak intact. Cases of human injuries caused by these fishes happened to the head, trunk, and legs. Needlefish injuries to humans are common worldwide and such injuries can be hazardous.

The members of the family Acanthuridae are considered harmful fishes. They are characterised by the presence of conspicuous external spines and plates laterally near the basis of the caudal peduncle. There may be a single, sharp, mobile spine on each side, one or two immobile bony plates, or up to ten peduncular keels. These caudal spines or keels have been recognised as a framework being used both in intra- and interspecific interactions. In addition to the physical harm of these spines, there are indications that the sting of their spine is toxic. There is a special mechanism of movements of mobile spines which is not found in any other fish group.

In the present chapter, an account of the harmful fish species, needlefish and surgeonfish, is given. In this account the identification, distribution, habitat, biology, economic value, and conservation status of each species were provided. Several cases, both fatal and nonfatal, of needlefish attack were presented. The cuts caused by surgeonfish were described.


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laith A. Jawad
    • 1
  1. 1.ManukauNew Zealand

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