Maldives

Dangerous fishes in Maldives

Dangerous fishes at the Maldives are a few, and only a few accidents occurred. Sharks have never caused victims, despite their fame and the thousands of divers in this archipelago. It is very easy to meet these predators, there are places known for their presence, but meeting a shark does not mean being approached or attacked. Usually after a tour they go away towards the blue water.
Even if they are known to attack man, they have never shown an aggressive behaviour against the humans, unless you try to touch or feed them.
The baby-sharks are easy to find in the lagoons: they do not represent a danger for the humans and it is a privilege to observe them.
You should always remember not to bother them, feed them or provoke them. Small or big, sharks are first of all animals and they must be respected.
As sharks are not so dangerous, let’s see which are the animals which could be harmful for snorkellers and divers.
First of all the scorpaenidae family: these fishes have venomous dorsal and pectoral spines, connected with a venom gland that can inject a neurotoxin. First reaction is a terrible pain, swollen part, intense sweating, cardio-respiratory insufficiency, fever and sometimes paresis up to death. The injected toxin is thermolabile: being a protein, it is easily decomposed by the heat. First-aid consists in an immediate local application of very hot water and diluted oxidative agents. A doctor will then administer cardio-analeptics, adrenaline and cortisone.
According to the different species, the family members have different aspects.
The Pterois volitans (Lion Fish) has a beautiful aspect: according to the species, it has plummed or radial dorsal and pectoral fins, and is striped. It is very calm and it can be dangerous only if you bother or touch it.

Pterois volitans

Pterois volitans

More dangerous are the stonefish (Synanceia verrucosa), the false stonefish (scorpaenopsis diabolus) and the leaf scorpionfish (Taenianotus triacanthus) whose camouflage is extraordinary. They lie quietly on the corals waiting for their prey.
It is not easy to see them, so once again we recommend you not to touch corals and not to walk on them, whether to respect the ecosystem and for your safety.

Synanceia verrucosa

Synanceia verrucosa

Scorpaenopsis Diabolus

Scorpaenopsis Diabolus

Taenianotus triacanthus

Taenianotus triacanthus


The common stingray belongs to the dasyatidae family and has a jagged spine on its tail. This is only a defensive weapon: if you do not disturb it, it does not hurt you. Don’t try to touch these beautiful animals, for your and their safety: the acidity of your hands removes the protective mucous membrane and the scales, allowing the parasites to attack the animal.

Dasyatis pastinacaDasyatis pastinaca


The muraenidae family has a negative reputation. The laced moray, the barred thucklip moray, the undulated and grey morays (Favagineus, Gymnothorax Javanicus, Gymnothorax Undulatus, Siderea Grisea) are easy to see while snorkeling. Despite its big teeth, the moray is a very calm fish whose negative reputation derives maybe from its threatening aspect: it is forced to keep its mouth open to breath.

Gymnothorax Favagineus
Gymnothorax Favagineus


Gymnothorax Javanicus
Gymnothorax Javanicus

Gymnothorax Undulatus
Gymnothorax Javanicus

Siderea Grisea
Siderea Grisea


The barracuda (Sphyraena Barracuda) belongs to the Sphyraena family and usually lives in shoals. It is not always dangerous for the humans, despite its aspect.

Sphyraena Barracuda

Sphyraena Barracuda



The giant triggerfish (Balistoides Viridescens), belonging to the Balistidae family, can instead bite you. This fish vigorously defends its eggs released into big circular nests. If you get too close and it start swimming and assuming a “horizontal position, you must immediately leave. This fish is not afraid of the humans and attacks them. It is big and has powerful teeth.

Balistoides viridescens
Balistoides viridescens


The spotted torpedo (Torpedo Marmorata) belongs to the Torpedinidae family. It looks like the stingrays and the rays, but is not so easy to see, as it spends the day under the sand and comes out in the night. The spotted torpedo can give electric shocks to defeat or to scare an aggressor. The shock can reach the 200 Volt, so it is better not to bother this animal.

Torpedo marmorata
Torpedo marmorata


While snorkeling and diving, you can see hundreds of fishes belonging to the Acanthuridae family, such as the Dussumier, powderblue, lined, Thompson’s, convict and yellow tang surgeonfish (Acanthurus Dussumieri, Acanthurus
Leucosternon, Acanthurus Lineatus, Acanthurus Thompsoni , Acanthurus Triostegus e Acanthurus Xanthopterus).
These fishes have bony plaques and blades on the tail sides, usually highlighted by a gaudy colour, which are however very sharp.

Acanthurus Dussumieri
Acanthurus Dussumieri

Acanthurus Leucosternon
Acanthurus Leucosternon

Acanthurus Lineatus
Acanthurus Lineatus

Acanthurus Thompsoni
Acanthurus Thompsoni

Acanthurus Triostegus
Acanthurus Triostegus

Acanthurus Xanthopterus
Acanthurus Xanthopterus


The Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys Imbricata) belong to the Testudinidae family. It lives close to many resorts. It is usually not dangerous, but has a sharp beak and nails that can hurt you in case you bother or scare it.

Eretmochelys Imbricata
Eretmochelys Imbricata


The Sammara squirrelfish and the crown squirrelfish (Neoniphon Sammara e Sargocentron Diadema) belong to the Holocentridae family. They have a venomous bony spine on the gill pre-operculum.

Neoniphon Sammara
Neoniphon Sammara

Sargocentron Diadema
Sargocentron Diadema


Finally the brownspotted spinefoot (Siganus Stellatus) belongs to the family of the Siganidae. Its fins are covered by a mucous membrane that, if touched, causes a terrible pain. Its most harmful fin is the dorsal one.

Siganus Stellatus
Siganus Stellatus