Toxic & dangerous marine animals

The sea contains some of the most beautiful but also some of the most deadly life forms. Marine animals have an extensive arsenal of unique weapons for stinging, biting, puncturing, poisoning and chemically killing other life forms. Some of these weapons have clearly developed to aid in hunting and killing prey, such as jellyfish tentacles and octopus bites. Others have evolved for defense, such as the urchin and stonefish spines. A general rule-of-thumb in the sea is not touch at all, unless you know exactly what a species is.

Bristle Worm (Chloeia flava) Bristle Worm (Chloeia flava), Wild Guide to Moreton Bay Bluebottle or Portuguese Man-O-War (Physalia physalis) Bluebottle or Portuguese Man-O-War (Physalia physalis), Wild Guide to Moreton BayExacerbating the threat of dangerous marine animals is that some are so well camouflaged and practically invisible that they pose a much greater menace than if they were easily seen. Jellyfish often have pale blue transparent bodies and tentacles, blending in perfectly with the sea and sky, and stonefish have a warty brown skin resembling a rock. The precautionary principle is common sense in relation to marine life. For example, fresh Bluebottles washed up on the beach are signs that they are probably still present in the water.

Queensland Museum's Find out about... is proudly supported by the Thyne Reid Foundation and the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.