« Archives in August, 2011

The stingrays are a group of rays, which are cartilaginous fishes related to sharks..

Stingrays are commonly found in the shallow coastal waters of temperate seas. They spend the majority of their time inactive, partially buried in sand, often moving only with the sway of the tide. The stingray’s coloration commonly reflects the seafloor’s shading, camouflaging it from predatory sharks and larger rays. Their flattened bodies are composed of pectoral fins joined to their head and trunk with an infamous tail trailing behind.

The stingray’s spine, or barb, can be ominously fashioned with serrated edges and a sharp point. The underside may produce venom, which can be fatal to humans, and which can remain deadly even after the stingray’s death. In Greek mythology, Odysseus, the great king of Ithaca, was killed when his son, Telegonus, struck him using a spear tipped with the spine of a stingray.

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Stingray First Aid kit..

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Info and photo courtesy of NatGeo

 

 

 

 

 

Tropical Water Fire Coral

 

Fire corals have a bright yellow-green and brown skeletal covering and are widely distributed in tropical and subtropical waters. They appear in small brush-like growths on rocks and coral. Divers often mistake fire coral for seaweed, and accidental contact is common. Upon contact, an intense pain can be felt that can last from two days to two weeks. The very small nematocysts on fire corals contain tentacles that protrude from numerous surface pores (similar to jellyfish stings). In addition, fire corals have a sharp, calcified external skeleton that can scrape the skin.

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Fire Coral first aid kits

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The Man of War…

Incapable of self-propelling motion, the Portuguese man-of-war drifts on ocean currents. When gas fills the pneumatophore, the organism floats to the surface of the water; by letting gas out of the pneumatophore, the organism sinks beneath the ocean surface to rehydrate. The pneumatophore acts as a sail to guide the colony’s movement. Analogous to the human quality of left- or right-handedness, each colony leans either 45 degrees to the right or the left. The leaning quality of the float serves two possible functions: to direct members of the population to different corners of the oceans and to ensure that at least half of the population survives if the other half meets with unfavorable conditions. Currents sometimes carry numerous men-of-war near coastlines, where they threaten divers, swimmers and sunbathers.

 

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Man of War 1st aid kit…Don’t get stung without it!!

The Purple Sea Urchin…

A purple sea urchin’s pin cushion appearance comes from its round inner shell, called a “test.” The test is covered with pincers (pedicellariae), tube feet and purple spines that move on ball-and-socket joints. Young urchins sport green spines. The spines spear food and protect an urchin from predators. Tiny hairs (cilia) covering the spines create a water current that carries food to the urchin and washes away wastes. An urchin uses its many tube feet to move along rocks, sand or other surfaces.

 

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Sea Urchin 1st aid kit…Don’t get sting without it!!

When Stingrays strike…

Gannett

OCEAN CITY — Injuries from puncture wounds caused by the barbs at the end of a stingray’s tail are rarely life-threatening, but merit quick medical attention.

The stings are a rarity, but they do happen on occasion. The bacteria on the barbs can cause infection along with other more advanced injuries, like a broken blood vessel or tissue damage, according to Dewey Beach Patrol Captain Todd Fritchman.

“It’s like any type of puncture wound; you need to keep it clean and get to a doctor so you can get on systemic antibiotics to prevent an infection,” said Butch Arbin, captain of the Ocean City Beach Patrol. “Depending on how deep it goes and the severity of it, they may put you on some type of pain medication for a couple of days.”

A man who was surf fishing in Dewey Beach earlier this summer was hit by a stingray tail, but wasn’t injured much beyond a severe burning sensation, according to Fritchman. That has been the only reported incident in the town, but he says many stingrays have been caught in close by waters. Fishing regulations have recently been changed in the area to include a stipulation that sharks and stingrays are to be de-hooked in the water. That lessens the risk of injury , he said.

Arbin suggests the same treatment for puncture wounds caused by horseshoe crabs, a more common malady in the area. Sometimes, people step on a horseshoe crab tail and believe they’ve been stung by a stingray.

The only way to be immediately sure is if a barb or tail breaks off in the wound, Arbin said. If it does, it’s best to allow a medical professional to remove it. The injury “may have severed a blood vessel, and if you remove that then the bleeding really starts,” he said.

If the stingray’s barb is strong enough and big enough, it can get into a vital organ or artery, Fritchman said, though those instances are very rare. The most notable in recent years came in 2006 when wildlife expert Steve Irwin, popularly known as “The Crocodile Hunter,” was killed in Australia after a large bull stingray’s barbed tail pierced his heart.

“We all know that story, but that’s not the kind of sea life we have in our waters,” said Arbin. “We have very, very few injuries of any kind from stingrays.”

Sue Towers, a spokeswoman for Beebe Medical Center in Lewes, said the hospital doesn’t often have to treat victims of ray stings. They had one instance in 2006, and another in 2008, she said. Atlantic General Hospital has not treated any stingray-related injuries recently, according to spokeswoman Toni Keiser.

“It can happen,” said Towers. “They’re out there, but it’s just very rare.

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Try our Solution Stingray First Aid Kit

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A ray is on the go in the National Aquarium in Baltimore.