A Lagocephalus sceleratus (Λαγοκέφαλος) fish allegedly bit a swimmer off the coast of Chania on August 15. According to ZarpaNews.gr, the swimmer was a woman swimming quite deep. Lagocephalus sceleratus is not an endemic Mediterranean Sea fish; however, it is a Lessepsian migrant, according to recent studies.
Lagocephalus (also silver-cheeked toadfish or Sennin-fugu) is a poisonous marine bony fish. It has a distinctive appearance with its elongated body, silver stripes, and a beak-like mouth.
This fish is known for carrying a deadly toxin – tetrodotoxin in its ovaries and on its skin – that can cause serious health problems, making it a dangerous delicacy when eaten. It can cause paralysis of involuntary muscles and heart failure.
The swimmer in Chania is out of danger as the bite above her swimsuit was harmless. However, she did receive first aid, then informed friends, local fishermen, and authorities about the presence of the fish in the area.
Although encounters with the Lagocephalus Sceleratus fish are rare, it is essential to take precautionary measures to ensure your safety while enjoying the beautiful beaches of Chania. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
1. Stay Informed:
Be aware of the local news and any reported sightings or incidents involving the Lagocephalus Sceleratus fish. Stay informed about beach closures or warnings issued by local authorities.
2. Avoid Feeding Fish:
Feeding fish, including the Lagocephalus Sceleratus, can create an unnatural dependency on humans and potentially lead to aggressive behavior. Avoid feeding fish to discourage their presence near popular swimming areas.
3. Wear Protective Gear:
Consider wearing protective gear such as rash guards or wetsuits that cover your body and reduce the risk of direct contact with marine life.
4. Seek Medical Attention:
If you or someone else is bitten or experiences any symptoms after encountering a Lagocephalus Sceleratus fish, seek immediate medical attention. Prompt medical care is crucial to minimize the potential effects of the fish’s venom.