Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) is one of the four recognized syndromes of shellfish poisoning, which share some common features and are primarily associated with bivalve mollusks (such as mussels, clams, oysters and scallops). These shellfish are filter feeders and accumulate neurotoxins, chiefly saxitoxin, produced by microscopic algae, such as dinoflagellates, diatoms, and cyanobacteria. Dinoflagellates of the genus Alexandrium are the most numerous and widespread saxitoxin producers and are responsible for PSP blooms in subarctic, temperate, and tropical locations. The majority of toxic blooms have been caused by the morphospecies Alexandrium catenella, Alexandrium tamarense, Gonyaulax catenella and Alexandrium fundyense, which together comprise the A. tamarense species complex. In Asia, PSP is mostly associated with the occurrence of the species Pyrodinium bahamense.
Some pufferfish, including the chamaeleon puffer, also contain saxitoxin, making their consumption hazardous.