You are thinking the toxin release versus the spines I think. Not all release toxin when stressed, but most have nasty spines. I've been spiked once and for the wound size it burns more than it should and easily becomes inflamed. I do believe it's debated if it is actually a venom or just a bacteria with most catfish spines.I'm surprised it was head first, I didn't think a skirt's mouth was big enough. Tail first I could understand more easily, but then it seems like it would be spit out or chewed in half. Eww, too close to dinner but I do appreciate you posting pics. Corys are usually oblivious to almost any threat, but gee whiz...bigger fish coming face on? Not a great survival technique...
On a different related cory topic, I thought not all corys had venom in their spines. That may be ancient & possibly incorrect info or maybe it isn't always released? I know I've been "spined" at least once with only a "stab" type feeling & a small dot of wound, it healed very fast as I recall. My husband had a much worse reaction...but he is also less pain tolerant. I don't remember which species of corys may have been involved, we've had many over the years.
NoodleCats (or others) do you have more info on that issue? I'm just curious & always cautious with spined fish, venom or not. Many loaches & catfish have spines, is it raphael cats that have barbed spines? I know some fish do. I remember being especially careful with ours so it didn't get caught in the net...or hand.
Sorry if this is too off topic NC, I don't mean to derail your thread.
Either way, hurts and theyre very difficult to remove!
That's the other thing that shocked me the head first thing. But is also what made it so much more difficult, there was no getting those spines out that way. I know skirts can be really fast if they want to be but I just never expected that.