These beautiful fish have shimmering blue-green iridescent scales along their meter long bodies. Along each side is a bright emerald stripe. The fins are likewise brilliant blue-green color. The tail is another foot long and delicate. A number of brilliant green and black spines protrude from the dorsal and lateral fins.
This dangerous creature is blessed with several spines that contain one of the most potent toxins known to the world. When threatened, it will rush predators shaking its fins and spins. If pulled out of the water by fishermen, this fish will fight aggressively, attempting to impale its spines into hands and feet while it makes a cacophony of throaty babbling sounds. (The fish gets its name from this odd prattling that it makes when caught by fishermen). The neurotoxin produced by the spines is thick, gel-like and maintains it's virulence even when diluted in seawater. This toxin rapidly paralyzes the nervous system and shuts down the heart and lungs in prey.
The emerald prattle fish spends most of its life in warm coastal waters. It uses coral reefs in its breeding cycle, but is otherwise found all along coasts in tropical regions.
This rare fish is prized for its meat. The brilliantly colored orange flesh of this fish has a moist, buttery smooth texture and a flavor that is rich, but slightly sweet. The neurotoxin from the spines permeates the flesh of this fish in very small quantities. The poison tainted meat causes a numbness. It starts with a tingling of the lips and tongue and spreads slowly. It's a pleasant sensation. By the end of the meal, the eater is tingling all over, partially numbed and in a state of bliss and euphoria. It is not for the faint of heart and not for the poor either, since it's a rare and expensive delicacy. Of course, the fish must be prepared with utmost care. Certain cuts of meat are far too saturated with the toxin. Consuming badly prepared prattle fish can cause severe breathing difficulty, retching and even death.
This website was last updated October 5, 2021. Copyright 1990-2021 David M. Roomes.