On the beach in Spain? Better wear “fanequeras”.

It is not unusual to be stung by the leeser wever fish at Spanish beaches. This fish, known in Spanish as “faneca brava”, or only “faneca” is very common at the shore and we have prepared this article with a couple of pieces of advice to make your day at the beach as pleasant as possible avoiding unpleasant surprises

The best advice we can give you is to wear rubber shoes like the following, known in Spain as “fanqueras” or “cangrejeras”, and we are not sure if it exists a good translation into the English language for it.

They are used very usually in Spain to avoid been stung by the fish called “faneca” (Echiichthys vipera or lesser weever in English), a sea fish belonging to the Trachinidae family.

The lesser weever fish is generally found on the sandy sea beds of the open sea, near the shore. It is well known by swimmers and fishermen’s in Spain, especially in Galicia. Lesser wevers may sting you if disturbed in the water. They will not attack you, but if you step on it while they are resting half buried in the sand, they will sting you.

Those three black stings on the first dorsal are connected with a venom gland and has a potent toxin. You will not die if a lesser wever stings you, but the pain is very acute. The pain reaches the peak 30 minutes after the sting and then decreases. However, some pain may continue for up to 24 hours.

If you are stung by a lesser wever, the best first aid is to immerse the foot in hot water, around 40º C (104 ºF), or as hot as you can tolerate it, for an hour, to deactivate the venom. It is also advisable to apply an antihistamine ointment.

If visiting a beach, you normally don’t have warm water or antihistamine ointment, and the best solution is to visit the lifeguard (if any). He will know what to do and will have the necessary medications.

And this explanation leads us to the start of this article and the mentioned “fanequeras” or “cangrejeras”. Although they are not very aesthetic, they are very recommendable, especially for kids. You may not be able to find them in your country of origin, because of that the best solution is to buy them directly in Spain.

As summary:

  • Wear fanequeras.
  • If not wearing “fanequeras” avoid the shore with low tide.
  • if not wearing fanequeras, then shuffle your feet through the sand. The leeser wever will feel you approaching and will run away

If you want to know more about the leeser weber fish, take a look a the following video from the National Marine Aquarium (UK), where you can see how the fish behaves:

Video of the Leeser weever fish.

Leave a Comment