Watch This Venomous Fish Camouflage Into Its Surroundings

A diver captured video of this little-understood species expertly blending into the ocean floor.

Perhaps because they spend so much of their lives buried in mud, little is known about the two-stick stingfish. These ornate-looking fish are nocturnal, they ambush their prey, and they're capable of delivering a potent venom to anyone punctured by the spines of their dorsal fins.

Stingfish are also known for their ability to camouflage into their surroundings, and a new video shows just how skillful they are.

Shot by underwater photographer Vital Bazarov in the Gulf of Aqaba, Egypt, the stingfish, also called Inimicus filamentosus, initially appears a dull, sandy-colored brown. When it ascends from its ocean spot, the fish's brilliant yellow colours are revealed.


Following the fish across the ocean floor, Bazarov captures the animal matching the different shades of its environment. Repeatedly, the fish fans its fins, revealing a bright yellow. This behaviour is thought to serve as a warning not to come closer.

In some extreme cases, a prick from a stingfish can cause nerve damage in people.

This camouflage ability allows stingfish to ambush other, smaller fish for dinner. Bazarov noted that he filmed this fish during the day, a rare sight for an animal that is known to be nocturnal.

A video shot earlier this month showed the unique fish seemingly "walking" across the ocean floor on its fins. Researchers believe this behaviour probes the dirt for worms or crustaceans.

These fish can be found throughout eastern Africa and in the Indian Ocean. While some end up on dinner plates as a delicacy many are thrown into the ocean to avoid a fish some local legends call the "devil."

Though stingfish are venomous, they are often confused with stonefish, which are considered to be the most venomous fish in the world.

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