Belize: Political System
The official name of the country is:
According to DISEASESLEARNING.COM, Belize is a parliamentary democracy and has been politically independent from Great Britain since September 21, 1981. The constitution of Belize, which came into force in 1981 for independence, regulates the status of the country as a constitutional monarchy in the Commonwealth of Nations. The government of the small state rests with the Prime Minister, but the actual head of state is the British King. This/r is represented in Belize by a governor general. See AbbreviationFinder for more information about Belize politics, and acronyms as well.
The legislature, i.e. the legislative power in the country, is provided by the Senate and the House of Representatives, which together form the National Assembly. The district capitals of Belize have elected self-governing bodies called “Town Boards”. Smaller towns and villages have been able to establish elected village councils since 2001. The executive (executive power) consists of the cabinet. The independence of the judiciary (jurisdiction) is enshrined in Belize’s constitution, even if the reality is often different. As far as the party landscape is concerned, the country has had a two-party system since 1961. However, this is not anchored in constitutional law.
Based on flag descriptions by Countryaah.com, the national flag of Belize shows in its center a large white disk in which the national coat of arms can be seen.
It includes two workers standing in front of a mahogany tree. Below is the motto of the country: “Sub umbra floreo.” – “I blossom under the shadow.”
- Check top-mba-universities for public holidays, sports events, UNESCO world heritage sites and major places to visit in Belize.
The national anthem of Belize was written by Samuel Alfred Haynes and composed by Selwyn Walford Young in 1963. It was officially introduced in 1981, the year of independence.
The text is in English.
|O, land of the free by the carib Sea,our manhood we pledge to thy liberty!
No tyrants here linger, despots must flee
This tranquil haven of democracy
The blood of our sires which hallows the sod,
Brought freedom from slavery oppression’s rod,
By the might of truth and the grace of God.
No longer shall we be hewers of wood.Arise! ye sons of the Baymen’s clan,
put on your armor, clear the land!
Drive back the tyrants, let despots flee-
Land of the Free by the Carib Sea!Nature has blessed thee with wealth untold,
O’er mountains and valleys where praries roll;
Our fathers, the Baymen, valiant and bold
Drove back the invader; this heritage hold
From proud Rio Hondo to old Sarstoon ‘
Through coral isle, over blue lagoon;
Keep watch with the angels, the stars and moon;
For freedom comes tomorrow’s noon.
The animals that live in Belize and are particularly noteworthy include jaguars, tapirs, pumas, monkeys and river crocodiles.
In addition, there is a large number of different bird species, one of which is the colorful toucan, a colorful representative of the woodpecker birds.
Of the anteaters from the suborder Vermilingua there are four different species from three different genera.
Its long tubular snout is striking. They also have a thick coat and very strong claws on their front feet.
The different species reach a length between 20 to 140 cm – with a weight between 300 g up to 50 kg for the great anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla).
The great anteater is exclusively a ground dweller and lives in savannah areas, while the pygmy anteater only lives on trees. The other two species live both on the ground and in trees.
They feed almost exclusively on ants and termites, which is where their name comes from. The animals mostly live as solitary animals in their own territories.
The females only give birth to one young at a time. Only the great anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) occurs in Belize.
You can find a detailed description of the anteater at Goruma here >>
The howler monkeys (Alouatta) are a genus from the family of the spotted monkeys (Atelidae), which is found in Central and South America. There are a total of twelve different species of the genus Alouatta.
They got their name because of their loud screaming, which they utter mostly early in the morning.
Howler monkeys, with a head-trunk length of 60 to 90 cm, are among the largest monkeys on the American continent after the spider monkeys. Their tail is roughly the same length as their body.
Their weight is between 4 and 10 kg, with the males being noticeably larger and heavier than the females. Their coat color ranges from yellow-brown to red to black,
The animals are pure herbivores that feed mainly on leaves and less often on fruits and flowers.
The animals can be found from southern Mexico across the Amazon basin to northern Argentina. The Guatemala howler monkey (Alouatta pigra) occurs in Belize.
Some species of bats are found in Belize. A number of diseases can be transmitted through a bite, including the deadly rabies.
As an example, the Gelbohrer bat should be shown in more detail:
– Gelbohrer bat
The Gelbohrer bat (Uroderma bilobatum) is a species of bat from the family of leaf noses (Phyllostomidae).
This bat reaches a head-trunk length of 55 to 75 mm – with a weight of 15 to about 20 g. It is gray-brown in color, while the face is streaked with four white stripes.
There is a light central stripe on the back and the ears have yellow borders.
The Gelbohrer bat lives in lowland rainforests, but is occasionally found in gardens.
Their diet consists of fruits and nectar as well as insects.
Their resting places consist of tent-like hiding places that they build from palm or banana leaves
This bat species is found in Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela.
The green iguana (Iguana iguana) belongs to the family of the iguanas (Iguanidae) and to the genus Iguana. The animals reach a head-trunk length up to about 50 cm, together with the tail it becomes about 2 m long.
Despite its name, the animal is not completely green, but rather greyish-green or has a strong brown influence.
The diurnal animal lives mainly in trees, but is also a good swimmer. Its diet is purely vegetarian and consists mainly of leaves.
Its meat The meat is offered as “green chicken” because it is reminiscent of chicken. A well-known dish is sopa de garrobo.
The animal is found in Central America and in the north of South America. Individual occurrences even in the US state of Florida and on the Lesser Antilles
Another great feature of Belize are the local jaguars. With the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, the country has the only jaguar reserve in the world. The animals had already been worshiped by the Mayans and can now be found in their natural environment, especially in Belize. You can find a detailed description of the animal at Goruma here >>
The long-tailed weasel (Mustela frenata) belongs to the subfamily Mustelinae and the marten family (Mustelidae).
The animals have a head-trunk length between 20 to 30 cm, with a tail length between 10 and 20 cm. Their weight varies from 90 to about 350.
Their fur is brown on the back and yellowish-white on the abdomen, while the tip of the tail is black. It is interesting that their winter fur is white except for the tip of the tail
. They are mainly fed by small mammals, especially mice and other rodents. But cottontail rabbits, birds and reptiles are also on their menu.
The long-tailed weasels are mainly nocturnal and spend their rest time during the day in hollow tree trunks, crevices in the rock, but also in the abandoned burrows of other animals.
The animals can be found from southern Canada through parts of the USA, Mexico and the rest of Central America – including Belize and Costa Rica – to Guyana and Bolivia.
The ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) is a species of predator from the cat family (Felidae) and the genus of the leopard cats (Leopardus). The basic color of the fur on the upper side varies from greyish to yellowish-brown to orange, with the residents of rainforests tending to be orange or ocher, while the animals of the dry regions are mostly gray. The underside of the animals is usually whitish in color. For this purpose, it is covered with black, strip-shaped, ring-like or rosette-like spots. The inside of the spots is a little darker than the basic color of the fur. Their head-body length varies from 55 to 100 cm – with a tail length between 30 to 45 cm. Their weight is between 11 and 16 kg. They are nocturnal loners and feed on sting rats, New World mice and tree prickers, opossums, Cottontail rabbits, but also coatis, howler monkeys, sloths, tamanduas and pintail deer. But birds and reptiles such as iguanas, turtles or snakes, amphibians and fish are also on their menu. The cats are found from the south of the USA to northern Argentina. It can also be found on the island of Trinidad.
You can find a detailed description of the animal at Goruma here >>
The peccaries or peccaries belong to the family of the Tayassuidae. Their four species belong to three different genera, of which the following two can be found in Belize:
– Bisampekari, Whitebeared pecari (Tayassu pecari)
The Bisampekari or Whitebeared pecari has a head-trunk length between 80 to 110 cm, a shoulder height between 45 to 60 cm – with a weight of 20 to 50 kg. Males and females are about the same size.
The animals can be found from southern Mexico via Central America and the northeast of South America to Argentina.
– Collar pekari (Pecari tajacu)
The 14-30 kg collar peccary has a body length of 75 to 100 cm, a shoulder height of 40 to 60 cm and a tail length of 1 to 5 cm. Males and females are about the same size.
Their distribution area extends from the southwest USA (Arizona, New Mexico, Texas) over Central and Central America, up to the Río de la Plata in Argentina. The animals can also be found in Trinidad.
Its habitats are primeval forests, savannas, grass steppes and semi-deserts, but they can also be found in the higher foothills of the Andes. The animals prefer steep river valleys and thickets
The Puma (Puma concolor) has a narrow body up to 130 cm long, a shoulder height of 65 cm and a strong, around 70 cm long tail with a black tip. It reaches a weight of 50 to 60 kg, whereby the females are about a third lighter. The animals living in the regions of the equator tend to be smaller than those in the far north or south.
Its dense and short fur varies in basic color according to the area of distribution and ranges from yellow-brown, reddish-brown to silver-gray. The chin and chest as well as the entire abdomen are always whitish, while the tip of the tail is dark in color.
The animal is also known as the silver lion or mountain lion
It occurs in almost all of South and Central America, as well as in some US states. The animal is a pure carnivore and two-thirds of its prey include deer as well as elk, deer and reindeer, but also rats, ground squirrels, skunks, raccoons, beavers and possums as well as sheep, goats and cattle.
You can find a detailed description of the animal at Goruma here >>
The skunk from the family Mephitidae is divided into four genera, which in turn are divided into 12 species. The following genera occur in Central America:
• Fleckenskunks (Spilogale), the genus is made up of four species that occur in North and Central America.
• Striped skunks (Mephitis), the genus consists of two species that occur in North and Central America.
• The Weißrüsselskunks (Conepatus), the genus is made up of four species that are found all over the American continent.
With a head-trunk length of about 12 to about 50 cm, a tail length of 7 to 40 cm and a weight of 200 g to 4.5 kg. Are they comparable to the size of a house cat?
The basic color of the animals is black or dark brown, while the face, trunk and tail are provided with white stripes or spots.
The animals are usually crepuscular or nocturnal and during the day they retreat into buildings they have dug themselves or into burrows taken over by other animals, such as marmots, badgers or ground squirrels. But they also spend the day in crevices or hollow tree trunks. In the evening or at night they go in search of food. They usually stay on the ground, only the Spotted Skunks also climb trees.
The strip skunks hibernate for a few weeks during the cold season.
The animals eat small mammals such as rodents and rabbits, birds, lizards, snakes and amphibians as well as insects and other invertebrates, but also fruits, nuts and tubers are on their menu.
A closer “acquaintance” with the animal can quickly become unpleasant if it thinks it has to defend itself.
The only thing that helps against the stinking secretion from his anal glands is a bath in tomato juice, if at all.
If the secretion comes into contact with the mucous membranes, vomiting and headaches are possible consequences.
Contact with the eyes can even cause temporary blindness.
The genus of Tapir (Tapirus) have – according to the type – a head-body length of 100 to 250 cm, a body height of 75 to 120 cm and a weight of 110 to 320 kg
The different types of animals live in both the Flat land as well as at heights up to about 3,600 m. They are loners and feed mainly on leaves, fruits, twigs and other parts of plants.
Their existence is considered threatened, which is particularly due to the destruction of their habitats.
There are five species of the genus Tapir (Tapirus), with the lowland, mountain and Kabomani tapir occurring in South America.
The black-backed tapir, on the other hand, is only found in Southeast Asia:
– lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris)
– mountain tapir (Tapirus pinchaque)
– Kabomani tapir (Tapirus kabomani)
– Central American tapir (Tapirus bairdii)
The raccoon (Procyon lotor) is an animal originally native to North America.
The animal is also found in Central America.
Since about the middle of the 20th century, the animal has also been found on mainland Europe, the Caucasus and in Japan.
Raccoons are mostly nocturnal predators and prefer to live in deciduous and mixed forests that are rich in water. Due to their adaptability, however, they live in mountain forests, on salt marshes and even in large cities, where they also look for food in garbage cans.
Its head-torso length is between 40 and 70 cm – with a weight between 3.5 and 9 kg. In the wild they prefer to feed on insects, worms, beetles, fish, frogs, toads or salamanders in spring and plants such as fruit and nuts in autumn. You can find a detailed description of the raccoons here >>>
The weasel cat (Puma yagouaroundi) – also known as Jaguarundi – has an elongated body with a mean length of about 65 cm and a tail about 45 cm long. The animal has relatively short legs and small round ears and weighs around 9 kg.
There are two color variants of the species, but they do not form any subspecies: The gray morph has a gray to black colored coat and the red morph, whose color varies from light brown to olive brown to bright chestnut red Bushes. The animal is found in the south of the US state of Texas over the coastal plains of Mexico and Central America, in Venezuela and as far as Argentina and Bolivia.
The animal is both diurnal and nocturnal. Its food depends on the prey animals found in the range.
Among them are cotton rats in Belize, as well as birds, reptiles and possums. However, they also eat leaves, grass and fruits were found in these excrement examinations.
pouch rats Woolly pouch rats (Caluromys) are a genus from the family of pouch rats (Didelphidae) and are divided into three different species.
Their head-torso length ranges from 18 to about 30 cm – with a weight between 200 to 500 g. The animals also use their 25 to 50 cm long, half-haired tail as a prehensile tail.
Their fur is soft and long and is colored reddish-brown or gray and has a white pattern every now and then. Their ventral side is yellowish in color. The black stripe on her face is striking.
They mostly live in forests and there mainly on trees. The crepuscular and nocturnal animals can climb very well and are loners
Their diet consists mainly of fruits, seeds, leaves, insects, but also small vertebrates.
You can find the animals from the south of Mexico to the north of Argentina.
In Belize one can find the Derby woolly rat (Caluromys derbianus).
anteater The dwarf anteater (Cyclopes didactylus) is an anteater from the genus Cyclopes. The animals have a head-torso length between 17 to 21 cm and a tail length of 18 to 24 cm. The shoulder height is on average 9 cm – with a weight between 180 to 400 g. They feed on ants and termites.
The animals are found in Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, French Guyana, Guyana, Colombia in southern Mexico (Oaxaca and Veracruz), in Panama, Peru as well as in Suriname and Venezuela. The animals can also be found on the island of Trinidad.
The idol snake (Boa constrictor) reaches sizes between 3 and 4 m and feeds on smaller and larger mammals as well as on birds and reptiles.
The prey is embraced and strangled by contracting the muscles.
The snake can be found in Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil (Amapá, Pará, Rondonia, Bahia, Sergipe, Amazonas, Pará, Pernambuco, Federal District, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Paraná, Piauí, Mato Grosso, Goiás, S Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte)
in Costa Rica, El Salvador, French Guyana, Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia (Valle del Cauca).
Also in Mexico (Yucatan, Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosí, Quéretaro, Veracruz, Puebla, Jalisco, Morelos and Hidalgo), in Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay.
The snake is also at home in Peru (Pasco), Suriname and Venezuela (Merida, Isla Margarita), as well as in Florida/USA – where it was released.
They can also be found in Trinidad, Tobago, Martinique, Aruba and Antigua.
The snake has the following subspecies:
– Boa constrictor amarali
– Boa constrictor constrictor
– Boa constrictor nebulosa
– Boa constrictor occidentalis
– Boa constrictor orophias
– Boa constrictor ortonii You can find
a detailed description of the snake at Goruma here >>>
Green rat snake
The green rat snake (Senticolis triaspis) can be found in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, in the southeast of Mexico (Eastern Sonora, Nuevo León, Western Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Morelos, Oaxaca, Aguascalientes, Tamaulipas, Quéretaro, Guanajuato), in Nicaragua as well as in the USA (southern Arizona and in the southwest of New Mexico)
The snake has the following three subspecies:
– Senticolis triaspis intermedia
– Senticolis triaspis mutabilis
– Senticolis triaspis triaspis
information about lance vipers The genus of the lance vipers (Bothrops) belongs to the subfamily of pit vipers (Ctotalinae) and to the family of vipers (Viperidae).
The genus of the lance viper comprises 45 species of snakes, some of which in turn have subspecies.
The smallest species or subspecies reach a length between 50 to 70 cm and the largest can be over 2 m long.
Their poison has tissue-destroying parts (proteases), blood-damaging and kidney-damaging parts.
It is worth mentioning that the enzyme reptilase in the venom of Bothrops atrox and Bothrops jararaca is used in diagnostics to determine coagulation disorders and as a therapeutic agent for anticoagulation.
The animals are viviparous. They get their name from their triangular head shape, which is reminiscent of a lance tip.
The rasp-tail-lance-viper (Bothriechis schlegelii) is found in Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador,
Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.
You can find a detailed description of the prehensile lance viper at Goruma here >>
Terciopelo lance viper
The Terciopelo lance viper (Bothrops asper) is also known as the rough-scaly lance viper.
They can be found in Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela.
There are no subspecies of the snake.
A detailed description of the Terciopelo lance viper can be found at Goruma here >>
Other venomous snakes
In addition to the lance vipers, the following other venomous snakes can be found in Belize:
Diastema coral snake
The diastema coral snake (Micrurus diastema) occurs in the south of Mexico (Veracruz, Oaxaca, Yucatan, Chiapas) as well as in
Belize, Guatemala and Honduras up to an altitude of around 1,700 m.
The snake has the following seven subspecies:
– Micrurus diastema diastema
– Micrurus diastema aglaeope
– Micrurus diastema alienus
– Micrurus diastema affinis
– Micrurus diastema apiatus
– Micrurus diastema macdougalli
– Micrurus diastema sapperi
Snake The Mayan Coral Snake (Micrurus hippocrepis) is found in Belize and Guatemala
American jumping lance viper The Central American jumping lance viper (Atropoides mexicanus) can be found in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, in southern Mexico (Chiapas, Querétaro), Nicaragua and Panama.
Mexican moccasin snake
The Mexican moccasin snake (Agkistrodon russeolus) belongs to the family of the vipers (Viperidae), to the sub-family of the pit vipers Crotalinae and to the genus of the triangular-headed adder (Agkistrodon).
There are no subspecies of the snake species.
It occurs in Mexico and there in Campeche, Yucatan and Quintana Roo, as well as in Belize and Guatemala.
Black-banded coral snake
The black-banded coral snake (Micrurus nigrocinctus) – also known as the Central American coral snake – lives in Mexico in the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas and Yucatan.
They can also be found in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.
By the serpent, there are the following seven subspecies:
– Micrurus nigrocinctus babaspul
– Micrurus nigrocinctus coibensis
– Micrurus nigrocinctus divaricatus
– Micrurus nigrocinctus nigrocinctus
– Micrurus nigrocinctus ovandoensis
– Micrurus nigrocinctus wagneri
– Micrurus nigrocinctus zunilensis
Yucatán inverted-nosed viper
The Yucatán inverted-nosed viper (Porthidium yucatanicum) is found in Mexico in the north of the Yucatan peninsula, in Campeche and in Belize
More poisonous animals
spider The brown recluse spider (Loxoceles reclusa) reaches a size of up to about 2 cm. Your bite can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, and cramps.
As a consequence, larger necroses can later appear in the area around the bite site
The 24-hour ant – also known as the tropical giant ant (Paraponera clavata) – produces extreme melts after a bite. These horrific melts take about 24 hours to subside, hence the name of the ant.
Fortunately, no consequences are to be expected.
Poison dart frogs, poison dart frogs
The poison dart frogs (Dendrobatidae) – also known as poison dart frogs – belong to the family of frogs (Anura). The only about 12 to 50 mm large frogs are divided into a dozen genera and around 250 different species.
But only three of the species are really deadly poisonous and were used by the Indians as arrow poison. Strictly speaking, the term poison dart frog is only correct for the following three species that only occur in Colombia.
– Terrible poison dart frog (Phyllobates terribilis)
– Bicoloured poison dart frog (Phyllobates bicolor)
– Gold streaked leaf climber (Phyllobates aurotaenia)
The other species are not life-threatening, but lead to fever, nausea and gastrointestinal problems.
The poison that is in the skin of the animals can get through an open wound or through the mucous membranes (e.g. into the human body
This spider from the genus Latrodectus lives in dry, steppe-like areas near the ground – mostly between stones and undergrowth. They are rarely found in human dwellings.
It has a size up to about 16 mm. They are brown in color with red markings reminiscent of an hourglass. Their poison is quite strong and leads to nausea, sweating and muscle cramps in humans.
The bite is initially perceived as a small pinprick and the symptoms only appear after 2 to 3 hours.
There are four species of the genus of the black widow (Latrodectus), of which the western black widow (Latrodectus hesperus) can also be found in Belize
During the day, the scorpions hide under stones, pieces of wood or in crevices in order to hunt their prey – spiders, millipedes and insects – at night. Most scorpions are harmless to humans, although the sting is just as painful as that of a bee or wasp.
In general, the smaller a scorpion, the more dangerous it is. However, the animals only sting when they feel harassed.
Therefore, towels, shoes, etc. should always be shaken out in the morning.
The tarantulas (Theraphosidae) are a family in the suborder of the tarantula-like (Mygalomorphae) within the order of the web spiders (Araneae).
They belong to the arthropods.
The approximately 145 genera are divided into around 950 different species.
The largest species is the giant tarantula (Theraphosa blondi) with a body length of about 12 cm, which is found in northern Brazil, Suriname and French Guiana.
The tarantulas are considered to be less aggressive and a bite has a slightly stronger effect than a wasp sting. However, allergy sufferers can endanger their lives.
The tarantulas are found in Asia, Africa in California and in Central and South America
Bees, wasps and hornets are very common among insects and can cause life-threatening allergic reactions when bitten.
Particularly noteworthy are the so-called killer bees, which are considered to be particularly dangerous because they defend their hives very vigorously. Not only do they sting more frequently than other species of bees, but they can also get a whole swarm of bees to support them through certain signals, which can then be fatal for an unprotected person.Some
tropical species of centipedes reach a length of over 20 cm and can do that Inflicting painful bites on people with their large, venomous claws – but not life-threatening.
There are also numerous species of ants here, including leaf-cutting ants and termites.
Many different species of spiders and butterflies also inhabit parts of the country.
In the waters of Belize and especially in the Belize Barrier Reef, around 250 different species of fish cavort, including the rather harmless reef sharks.
Fire corals, some types of jellyfish, certain snails and scorpion fish are dangerous.
But divers and snorkelers will also find a large number of colorful and fascinating fish among the 250 species of fish.
Below is a small selection:
The surgeon fish (Acanthuridae) are a family in the order of the surgeon fish-like (Acanthuriformes) and comprises two subfamilies with six genera and over 80 species.
The largest atten can be up to 80 cm long, while the smallest species, the Tomini bristle-tooth doctor fish (Ctenochaetus tominiensis) is only approx. 12 cm long.
The fish get their name from the “scalpels” or the horn-like knives that they carry in front of the tail root and are used to defend against enemies such as moray eels, groupers and barracudas.
Contact can lead to deep and bloody cuts in humans that require medical treatment.
corals Fire corals form plate- or branch-shaped skeletons with a multitude of tiny pores covered with eating polyps and defense polyps, which are very nettles. Fire corals are mostly brown or pale beige in color.
They owe their name to nettle cells, which are able to penetrate human skin and then inject a very painful poison. The injuries are infectious and scarring, sometimes for life.
The symptoms are very similar to those after contact with nettles.
, the frog fish (Batrachoididae) – also known as frogfish – divided into four subfamilies:
Batrachoidinae, Halophryninae, Thalassophryninae and Porichthyinae.
The species of the subfamily Thalassophryninae have poisonous spines and those of the Porichthyinae subfamily have luminous organs.
They have an elongated body with a large flattened head and a large mouth. The protruding lower jaw protrudes over the upper jaw. The fish have no ribs and are usually without scales.
Their coloring is brownish with dots or saddle-shaped blackish spots.
The coral toadfish (Sanopus splendidus) that lives in coral reefs differs from this, it has a striking coloration. A swim bladder can be used to create a number of types of croaking noises. They also have one or more lateral line organs – sense organs for movement stimuli – on the head and on the flanks. Frogfish grow to a length of 6 to 60 cm, depending on the species.
Since the fish live at depths between 10 and 250 m, contact with them is only possible by scuba divers.
As so-called lurker hunters, they feed on crabs, fish, octopuses and snails. It is worth noting that some species can survive out of the water for a few hours.
The frogfish can be found in the tropical and subtropical regions of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans.
However, the Lusitanian toadfish (Halobatrachus didactylus) can also be found in the Mediterranean and on the Atlantic coast – from south-western Europe to the Biscay.
The hammerheads (Sphyrnidae) are a family of sharks.
The animals get their name from the widening of their head, which can act like a hammer. The hammerhead shark family comprises two genera with a total of eight species.
The largest species is the great hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran) with a length between 5.50 to 6 m. The smallest species is the corona hammerhead shark (Sphyrna corona), which reaches a length of less than 1 m.
The fish are found worldwide mainly in tropical and subtropical coastal regions.
In Belize, the great hammerhead shark is found particularly in the area of the Belize Barrier Reef
The cone snails (Conidae) are divided into 760 species from 98 genera.
The cone snails are nocturnal and carnivores. Most species eat bristle worms, while others specialize in molluscs and feed on other snails, clams, and cephalopods.
Still others eat crabs or fish. For hunting, they use a kind of harpoon that has developed from a tooth of the Radula. The radula of the cone snail only has this pointed tooth, which is hollow and connected to a poison gland.
There are reserve teeth in a pocket because the harpoon, which is “shot” through the trunk into the prey, is then lost to the cone snail.
The radula – also known as the rasp or rasp tongue – is the name given to the typical mouth part of molluscs, which is used to grate, chop and bring food into the throat.
Many species hide in the mud or sandy soil during the day.
The poisons of the cone snails are conotoxins and are neurotoxins that can be dangerous or even fatal for humans.
The shells of the cone snails are very popular with collectors because of their diverse beauty. The main distribution area of the snails is in the tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. But you can also find them in the Belize Great Barrier Reef.
Most jellyfish are harmless to humans – with a few exceptions such as the Portuguese galley or the slightly less poisonous Caribbean sea wasp.
After contact with a jellyfish you should never wash the affected area with fresh water, otherwise the poisonous nettle capsules will “explode”. Washing with vinegar, cleaning agents containing ammonia or urine helps against this.
Shaving foam is also a good remedy, as the nettle capsules “expand” in the foam so that you can carefully scrape them off afterwards. A great danger, however, is the relatively high probability of suffering an allergic shock.
– Portuguese galley
In the warm waters of Belize you can occasionally come across the Portuguese galley (Physalia physalis), a dangerous species of jellyfish.
The bluish shimmering, up to 30 cm large, sack-shaped gas bubble is filled with carbon dioxide and nitrogen and provides buoyancy. It is used as a sail and is formed by a single polyp.
The jellyfish has tentacles up to 50 m long that contain a highly potent mixture of poisons. This acts directly on the nerve cells when it comes into contact with the skin, where it leads to overexcitation.
This keeps the muscles constantly contracted – breathing arrest and heart failure can result.
The worm screw (Terebridae) are a family of water snails. Their housings have the shape of a circular cone.
The worms buried in the sand serve as food, which usually make them unable to move with the help of their poison glands.
The animals can only be found in the warmer waters of the tropics and subtropics.
The screw snail is comparable to the cone snail – but its shell is longer and thinner, and its venom is not quite as strong as that of the cone snail.
Stingrays (Dasyatidae) have a habit of burrowing themselves in the sand, even in shallow water areas. This is why snorkelers and swimmers are particularly at risk in the bathing bays.
A gently shuffling walk is the best prevention against injuries. Anyone who unexpectedly hits the beach or shallow water If you step on a stingray, you should know that its poison is heat-unstable, so it is best to put your foot in very warm water or the warm beach sand – under no circumstances cool it.
Stonefish (Synanceiidae) are divided into three subfamilies, nine genera and a total of 36 different species. Depending on the species, the fish reach a size between 8 to 60 cm.
Stonefish are plump-looking bottom dwellers who often camouflaged as stone or rock, live in relatively shallow water in coral and rock reefs. But they can also be found on sandy, scree and soft soils.
These fish are best known for the fact that some of their species are among the most poisonous fish around. The poison in the dorsal fin spines – including a neurotoxin – can also be fatal for humans.
The poison leads to a dilatation of the peripheral vessels, to respiratory paralysis and to cardiac arrhythmias which can lead to death
fish The spotted scorpion fish (Scorpaena plumiere), which is between 18 and 35 cm in size, lives in coral reefs and is a fish from the scorpion fish family. It has a large head with spines and notches. Some scorpion fish can adapt their color to the environment. The dorsal spines are poisonous and there are also poisonous spines formed in rays on the fins. Blood pressure drops rapidly after a sting – but pulmonary edema, can also cause blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries to rise. It can also lead to muscle cramps.
Swelling and severe pain occur in the area around the puncture, which intensifies hours later and can last for several days.
In contrast to stings by stone fish (Synanceiidae), no fatal outcome is to be expected.