« Archives in February, 2013

Fire Coral..Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Although it can be quite painful, a sting from Fire coral is rarely dangerous unless accompanied by an allergic reaction or anaphylactic shock. In fact, the most serious effects seen after extensive stings are possible nausea and vomiting for two to three hours afterwards. The sting caused by these animals is a result of the injection of a water-soluble, heat affected, proteinaceous toxin. The discharged nematocysts cause small welts on the skin with red lesions around the raised areas. Swelling, blisters, and pus-filled encystations may occur soon after being stung. However, all symptoms generally disappear after 24 hours.

A digitate, or branched form of Millepora sp. on a protected shallow reef flat on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. This particular species has an extremely strong sting..

FireCoral-kit

 

OCS Fire Coral 1st aid kit available in Australia at www.diveapp.com and dive shops in the U.S…Safe and effective with everything you need to provide 1st aid pain relief..Don’t get stung without it!!

Photo by Eric Borneman courtesy of Reefkeeping

Portuguese Man o War…spotted worldwide

The Portuguese Man o’ War  can be found anywhere in the open ocean (especially warm water seas), but they are most commonly found in the tropical and subtropical regions of the Pacific and Indian oceans, and the northern Atlantic Gulf Stream. The Man o’ War has been found as far north as the the northeast end of the Gulf of Maine.

They wash ashore along the northern Gulf of Mexico and the east and west coasts of Florida.  An abundance of Portuguese Man o’ Wars can be found in the waters of Costa Rica, especially in March and April.  They have been spotted recently off the coast of Spain, Ireland, in Welsh waters and in the Mediterranean near Corsica and Malta.

They are also frequently found along the east coast of South Africa, (particularly during winter storms if the wind has been blowing steadily on-shore for several hours), as well as around the Hawaiian Islands.  Strong onshore winds may drive them into bays or onto beaches. It is rare for only a single Portuguese Man o’ War to be found; the discovery of one usually indicates the presence of many as they are usually congregated by currents and winds into groups of thousands. Man o’ Wars typically travel in groups of 1,000-plus.

ManOWar-kit

Don’t get stung without it!!

 

Ocean Care Solutions Lionfish Sting 1st Aid Kit provides safe and effective sting relief

Pterois volitans and P. miles
Native range: Indo-Pacific and Red Sea
Invasive range: East coast of the United States and Caribbean sea

Some say that the invasion started in Miami, when Hurricane Andrew smashed an aquarium tank in 1992. But you can’t blame the weather: records of wild lionfish in Florida date back at least to 1985. This popular aquarium fish may have been released by fish enthusiasts tired of having a relentless predator in the living rooms, silently dispatching their other fish. And now that exotic predator is spreading north to New England, south to Panama and throughout the Caribbean, feasting on juvenile snapper and grouper along with algae-eating parrotfish as they go–-species which help keep reefs healthy. The lionfish is the first marine fish invasion in the western Atlantic.

Lionfish Range in the US.

Marine biologists are shocked at the speed of their spread in just a decade and at their population densities. Few fish species have established in the wild, let alone so successfully. Suddenly, they’re an abundant reef fish from the Bahamas to Rhode Island. Overfishing of predators like the grouper may be part of the story. Reef destruction and trophic cascade are possible outcomes. The only range limits appear to be colder and fresher waters.

A female lionfish produces two million eggs a year, so not only does it seem unlikely the species can be successfully eradicated, even slowing the growth rate is a challenge. Because lionfish eat just about anything that fits in their mouth while larger native fish don’t seem to recognize lionfish as prey, some experts say humans are the only predators left to call upon.

Common lionfish (Pterois miles)

As of 2010, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary has given out licenses to divers to kill the species inside the property. Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) hosts a series of “Lionfish derbies” offering prize money  largest, smallest, and highest number caught; and publishes the Lionfish Cookbook, aimed at introducing chefs to what NOAA calls a “delicious, delicately flavored fish” similar in taste to snapper and texture to grouper. Lionfish have venomous fin spines––an uncommon feature on East coast species–-making them top predators and a danger to fishermen and divers. (And more expensive than many other fish on the menu, someone has to remove those venomous spines.)

The Lionfish 1st aid kit comes with everything you need to effectively treat your marine sting.

Lionfish Kit

Information provided by eattheinvaders.org

Red sea urchins lining the seafloor can “see”….

Sea urchins may use the entire surfaces of their bodies—from the ends of their “feet” to the tips of their spines—as huge eyes.

Scientists had already known the marine invertebrates react to light without any obvious eye-like structures—raising the question of how the animals see.

Previous genetic analysis of the California purple sea urchin had revealed that the animals possess a large number of genes linked with the development of the retina—the light-sensitive tissue lining the inner eyeball in people and other vertebrates.

This and other research suggested that sea urchin might rely on light-receptor cells randomly scattered across their skin, which collectively function like retinas.

Scientists had theorized the animals’ spines simulate the light-blocking pigmented cells found in most animals’ eyes. Because light-receptor cells in the retina can soak up light from every direction, pigmented cells work to block light from the back and the sides so animals can “see” what’s in front of them.

Now, however, the scientists have found two distinct groups of bristly, light-receptor cells concentrated at the bases and tips of the purple sea urchin’s 1,400-plus tube feet. These long, suction-tipped tubes, located on the undersides of sea urchin bodies, help the organisms move.

The team suspects that sea urchins use their tube feet as retinas and the rest of their bodies to shield against the extra incoming light, said researcher Maria Ina Arnone, a developmental biologist at Anton Dohrn Zoological Station in Naples, Italy.

Prior studies did find the number and placement of spines on a sea urchin could affect how sharp its vision might be, and this new find “might well be part of the picture,” Arnone added.

SeaUrchin-kit

Ocean Care Solutions Sea Urchin first aid kit..don’t get stung without it!!

Australian Bull Ray….Stingray

The Australian bull ray has a disc that is wider than it is long. The snout is blunt with a skirt-shaped inter nasal flap as well as a single fleshy lobe that surrounds the snout and almost reaches the pectoral fins. The medium-sized eyes are located on the sides of the head and the spiracles are large. The pectoral fins which make up the “wings” of this ray originate below the eyes. The margins of the pectoral fins are deeply concave and the tips are highly angular. There is a small dorsal fin that originates over or just behind the pelvic fin rear tips and is anterior to the spine on the tail. The tail is elongate and whip-like and has a venomous stinging spine located just behind the dorsal fin.
Stingray first aid kits available through DFA, on line or at your favorite retail beach/dive shop…don’t get stung without it!!

Golden Stingray commonly found in the Eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean and Black Sea…

The most common sting ray found in the Eastern Atlantic (North Sea, Baltic to Mauritania) as well as the Mediterranean and Black Sea is the Pastinaca or Golden Stingray. This ray has a rhomboid shaped disc with straight anterior margin and mildly convex posterior margin with a pointed snout and a small protrusion. Generally skittish about human intrusion but has proven tolerant while feeding. This ray is dangerous to swimmers and salt water sports fishermen to poisonous barbed spine.  Don’t forget the shuffle but if you do…

Stingray-kit

Stingray first aid kits available on line or at your favorite retail beach/dive shop…don’t get stung without it!!