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Symptoms and Signs of Weever Fish Sting: Pain, Symptoms, and Treatment

Doctor's Notes on Weeverfish Sting (Weever Fish) Spike, Pain, Symptoms, Treatment

A weeverfish (mud-dwelling 4-21-inch-long fish with venom containing 4-8 sharp spines on its back) sting occurs from direct skin contact (puncture) with extendable venom containing spines. The spines can penetrate through a leather boot. Signs and symptoms include immediate severe burning and crushing-like pain and swelling that can radiate through the stung extremity; it peaks at about 30 minutes and gradually resolves, but in some people, can persist for days. Systemic symptoms may include fever, chills nausea, fainting, headaches, sweating; some individuals can exhibit serious problems such as low blood pressure, arrhythmias, difficulty breathing and uncommonly, death. Infections of the sting site are common.

The cause of the weeverfish sting is the puncture wound and venom from the fish spines. This fish is the most venomous fish in the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Eastern Atlantic Ocean, North Sea, and European coastal areas and has several other names (sea dragon, sea cat, for example). Usually, the sting is triggered by a person inadvertently stepping on the fish buried in the muddy or sandy costal waters.

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.