Dangers lurking in ‘deathly shallows’

Published 8:00am 5 July 2022

Dangers lurking in ‘deathly shallows’
Words by Kylie Knight

Moreton Daily’s resident marine expert Dr Dazza, Daryl McPhee, will share what he knows about the dangerous creatures who call Moreton Bay home when he speaks at Clontarf this month.

The Bond University Associate Professor of Environmental Management, who also writes regular columns for Moreton Daily, will appear at Clontarf Beach State High School on July 20 from 5.30pm.

The event at the school’s Marine Block will begin with a sausage sizzle, with Dr Dazza’s presentation due to begin at 6.15pm.

“Moreton Bay has wonderfully diverse fauna, but some of that fauna can do us harm if we bother it,” Dr McPhee explains.

|“Venoms are part of the chemical arms race in the marine environment and essential for many species to catch prey, or not become prey themselves.|

“The good news is that despite the large number of venomous marine animals, envenomations locally are rare but they do occur. However, marine envenomations are on the rise globally.

“Several common local fish species including stingrays, catfishes, stonefish and bullrouts are venomous but they have very different venoms and venom apparatus.

Stonefish in particular are locally common, and are widely recognised as the most venomous fish in the world.”

Dr McPhee says it’s not just fish we need to be careful of, there are several species of venomous snails and the blue ringed octopus to look out for.

“The amazing thing about the blue ringed octopus is that it doesn’t even make its own venom. It is made by bacteria in their salivary glands,” Dr McPhee says.

“Social media often contains posts from local anglers holding venomous fish and asking what it is. You can even find photos of people holding blue ringed octopus!”

Dr McPhee offers the following tip: if you don’t know what it is, don’t pick it up.

To find out more, don’t miss his Dangerous Marine Creatures talk on July 20. There is a sausage sizzle from 5.30pm, with the presentation to start at 6.15pm.

To RSVP email [email protected]

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