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Which Or What Part Of An Oscar Cichlid Is Poisonous?

Home Forums Fresh and Brackish Water Fishes Which Or What Part Of An Oscar Cichlid Is Poisonous?

This topic contains 37 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  David Marshall 8 years, 9 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 38 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #312537

    David Marshall
    Participant

    Keep those answers rolling in.

    Since my last post one of our friends is getting close?

    Regards David

    #312574

    coelacanth
    Participant

    Some Cichlids are rumoured to have mucus which contains irritant compounds, which mean that any fin spine injuries (e.g. to a predator or clumsy aquarist) are more painful and take longer to heal than if they were simple puncture wounds.
    Having been “done” by a large Altum and subsequently seeing all the top layer of skin peel off my hand, I can provide some corroborative evidence for the rumours (this is probably how venomous fin spines originally evolved).
    I suppose it’s quite likely that Oscars have such an effect, but I’m not aware of any research to support this.

    #312596

    David Marshall
    Participant

    Hey Coelacanth

    You are closer to the mark than all our ‘friends’ who have taken the time, for which I am so grateful to you all, for replying.

    Coelacanth I will, thanks to your reply, reveal that the answer to the question I set has, as far as I know, no scientific research to support it but is gained from credible reports and experiences – including those of a medical Doctor.

    I will also reveal that our ‘friend’ geoffkemp came close when mentioning eyes.

    Okay who is going to follow the clues and make a first or follow-up guess to the answer before all is revealed?

    Regards David

    #312619

    geoffkemp
    Participant

    I`m going to follow up and say either the Cornea or the Iris, given that the species has red eyes. I`m afraid I have no scientfic reasoning, other than being told at school (proabably 20 or so years ago) that red was the natural world`s way of indicating that something was poisonous.

    #312639

    David Marshall
    Participant

    Hey

    You are close and definetly in the right body region of the head.

    #312641

    mickthefish
    Participant

    is it the fluid in the eye?.

    mick

    #312648

    David Marshall
    Participant

    Hey Mick

    Fluid possibly but not in the eye.

    #312650

    mickthefish
    Participant

    it has to be the brain then or the fluid in the brain cavity

    mick

    #312653

    David Marshall
    Participant

    No Mick

    Right area of body

    #312657

    mickthefish
    Participant

    the gill rakers,

    mick

    #312660

    Matt
    Keymaster

    Is it the mucous in the mouth?

    #312661

    coelacanth
    Participant

    Fish blood can frequently cause an allergic reaction in people, but I wouldn’t describe it as strictly poisonous.

    (edit) I see blood has already been mentioned

    #312669

    Bluedave
    Participant

    Come on David,

    Put us out of our misery!!!!

    #312697

    David Marshall
    Participant

    Hey

    Yes we have the answer. WELL DONE everyone but Matt is our winning Detective.

    Will compose the answer and post ASAP as it is to detailed to do so ‘off the cuff’.

    Regards David

    #312716

    David Marshall
    Participant

    So here we go with the explanation of why I believe that the bite of an Oscar is poisonous.

    Many moons ago Sue and I made a first visit to a well known London aquatic retail outlet. This was a memorable visit and my notebook records first viewings of New Guinea Red Rainbowfish and Melanochromis auratus.

    The assistants were really keen to show us around and tell us all about the workings of their shop. When one of the assistants went to feed some large wild caught Oscars he put on a pair of rubber gloves. My notes recall him telling us ‘We always take great care with wild caught Oscars as their instinct to bite is much greater than those from Singapore farms. One of our Amazonian collectors has witnessed the horrific consequences from Oscar bites, as these bites are poisonous. We always warn our customers about this’.

    In the early 1990’s my friend, the late Jare Sausaman, came over from America for a visit. We would meet for the first time at Doncaster Racecourse for the Yorkshire Aquarist Festival (a much missed event). Here, one of the traders had several large wild caught Oscars. Each time a young assistant poked a net into this tank, mainly to catch large Doradids, Jare cringed and turned away. When I asked Jare what was wrong he told me that in the Philadelphia area nobody ever caught an Oscar without gloves, on as their bite, particularly with wild caught fish, could be poisonous, due to mucus on the lips.

    In our first letter communication (no e-mail then) following Jare’s visit I asked if he could tell me more about the poisonous bite of Oscars. In his reply Jare told me that this was something that was often talked about in his local Cichlid groups and had come from wholesalers who had taken this information from their collectors. As far as Jare (who had one of the largest collections of aquatic literature in the World) knew there had been no scientific study done on Oscar bites, no hobbyist article published but in one of his wonderful ‘Fishy Trivia’ columns, for FAMA, Dr. Lewis had mentioned how Oscar bites were believed to be deadly.

    Now we move on to the late 1990’s. A friend had the largest Red-bellied Piranha I have seen. I could not have let this fish leave my care but my friend decided that it was time to move it on. He contacted a local Sea-Life Centre and they agreed to take the Piranha for their freshwater display area and brought along a large bucket for ‘Piranha transportation’.

    Taking advice from local retailers my friend lowered the level of water as far as he could. He then took an extremely thick bath towel and wrapped this around his hands as many times as he could. Using the towel as a sling the Piranha was lifted and placed into the bucket, filled with water from his tank. My friend then noticed blood on the towel. ‘I have damaged the fish’ was the shout to his wife. ‘No,’ replied wife, ‘the fish is fine’. So friend unwrapped the towel to find a nasty gash in his right hand. With eldest teenager left to see that the Centre people collected the fish my friend went to hospital casualty.

    When the Doctor came to see the wound he was beaming all over his face. As he was stitching the wound he told my friend that he had worked in Venezuela for several years. Here he had dealt with many Piranha bites and told my friend information about how such wounds are healed with the use of tobacco. As he was finishing the stitching work the Doctor said ‘Good job it was not an Oscar bite as you would have really have been in trouble. I would never tease one of these fish as their bite can lead to poisonous infection’.

    So, we have three examples of people who believe that an Oscar bite is poisonous. This has come from Amazonian fact or folklore? In literature and on the Internet we have no record other than that of Dr. Lewis. If we have SF members in the U.S.A. with access to large numbers of back Issues of Freshwater and Marine Aquarium Magazine who may have the time to search for this reference, I would be most grateful.

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