Other than the first time I broke my back, the most pain I've ever been in was my first stingray envenomation. Sting. Ray. It sounds so benign. How is it 'oh it stings'. No it does not sting. It is excruciating blinding pain to the point that a more appropriate name would be the 'GivemeagunsoIcankillmyself ray'!!
Our research into fish defensive venom has not only looked at stingrays, but a variety of other venomous fish as well, including the first examination of the evolution of the fang blenny venom system.
Fang blennies are a particularly fascinating group to research as they have a venomous bite instead of venomous spines like other fish, such as stingrays. They deliver a venom that is quite different from that of venomous spined fish, in that is not pain inducing. This is because they are not using their venom to deter larger predators but rather in fights with similar sized fish for territory. Their opioid peptide rich venoms induce dizziness in their competitors, giving the fang blenny an athletic competitive edge. If their competitors are extremely dizzy and uncoordinated, this would also make them easy prey for a predator.... thus being permanently removed from the competition!
As the image below shows, their venom delivering fangs are quite large!