Highly venomous fishes confined to the Indo-west-central Pacific. Stonefishes live in a range of habitats including coral reefs, estuaries, and soft bottom environments on the continental shelf. They are extremely well-camouflaged and grow to a maximum size of about 60 cm, although most are less than 15 cm.
The two species in the genus Synanceia are considered to be the most venomous known fishes. Like their scorpionfish relatives, stonefishes have venom glands near the bases of their dorsal-fin spines.
Apart from their prominent venomous fin spines, stonefishes lack scales and have wart-like skin glands on the body.
The venom is used for defense, and is usually injected when an unwary victim accidently treads on one of these fishes. Stonefish stings are extremely painful and sometimes fatal.