Greater weever

(Trachinus draco)

Size:  Seldom more than 40 cm 


Biology: The greater weever is a small fish, but it can be dangerous to fishermen and anglers. It has four spines connected to a gland that produces poison. In Norway the fish is called "Fjesing" or "Helvetesfisk" (meaning: The Fish from Hell). In Norwegian waters the greater weever is found in the southern and southwestern parts of the coast. It lives mostly on sand bottom from 5 to 100 meters depth. Though it is consider as a rare fish, it is common in some areas. Local fishermen catch it in nets an on bottom lines. The fact that this fish lives on sand bottom (where it hides in the sand) has occasionally caused fear among people bathing on the many beaches in the southwestern part of Norway. Swimmers have been scared by the thought of stepping on a greater weever hiding in the sand on the bottom. This fear is groundless. The majority of poisoning by the greater weever happens while handling the fish.


The poison

The greater weever has four spines that leads poison. Two spines (one one each side) are situated at the rear edge of the gills, pointing downward. In addition there are two poisonous spines on the frontal dorsal fin (on top of the neck). If you are poisoned, you will be in great pain though the poison is not considered at deadly for man. The poisoned spot will swell and be very painful. It is recommended to immediately clean the poisoned spot with hot water and to remove any remaining parts of the prickle. It is then important to go to see a doctor as soon as possible. In spite of the reputation of the greater weever, it is consider as one of the most colorful and beautiful fishes in Norwegian waters. Further south in Europe people eat this fish, but in Norway there are no such traditions.


Fjesing.jpg (36932 byte)

In some areas the greater weever is a common fish.

Fjesing2.jpg (37064 byte)

Be careful handling the greater weever. Look at the photo: Though this fish is almost dead it still spreads the frontal dorsal fin where two of the poisonous spines are situated. The fish is defending itself till the end.


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