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Stingray City..Cayman Islands

There are at least 96 species of stingrays worldwide (families Dasyatididae and Urolophidae combined), of which 5 are common in the Caribbean. The species predominant in the Cayman Island’s ‘Stingray City’ is the Southern Stingray (Dasyatis americana).

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Fire Coral painful but rarely life threatening unless…

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.

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Square Fire Coral..one of three species found in the Caribbean

One of the three Caribbean species, this is the most easily identified Milleporaspecies, M. squarrosa. It is named for the squarish indentions on its surface. Its color is nearly always pinkish, and it tends to be found in areas where it very much resembles coralline algae. Upon touching, however, it is very apparent that it is not coralline algae.

 

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Photo courtesy of Eric Borneman.

Skin contact with Fire Coral symptoms…

Symptoms begin within 5-30 minutes following skin contact with fire coral, an immediate burning sensation or a stinging pain develops. A red rash with raised lesions or vesicles appears, and itching develops. Lymph gland swelling may occur over time. Although rare, nausea and vomiting have been reported.
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Skin contact with fire coral leads to stings that can cause immense pain and burning sensation

Fire corals are marine organisms that can inflict painful stings.

The affected person may not feel anything for a short time and may develop symptoms within five to thirty minutes. Fire coral sting symptoms include moderate to severe pain, along with a burning sensation. The person may develop fire coral rash, within a short time. This type of rash may or may not be associated with itching. In some cases, swelling of lymph nodes, nausea and vomiting may become apparent.

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Flower Sea Urchin is very dangerous..

It is just common sense to avoid the sharp black spines of the black sea urchin. They can penetrate deeply into the flesh and break off causing long-lasting inflammation if not removed – often surgically. There is doubt as to whether venom is also involved.

A less common but much more dangerous urchin is the flower urchin. Instead of long spines it appears to be covered with numerous flowers which are in fact little venomous pincers (pedicillariae) capable of causing paralysis and even death. It has killed several people in Japan.

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Stingray tail spine up close…

This photo is a magnified view of a tail spine from the Atlantic stingray.

Research is being conducted by the biomedical and neurobiological industries on the venomous component of the tail spine and its possible future applications in those fields.

Stingrays do not typically attack people, however if it is stepped on, the stingray will utilize its spine as a form of defense. This is what it looks like so remember to do the shuffle…

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Photo and information courtesy of the Fla. Museum of Modern History

Red Sea Urchin…largest urchin of 700 different species

There are about 700 different species of sea urchins worldwide. Many sea urchins have venomous spines. The biggest sea urchin is the red sea urchin (Strongylocentratus franciscanus); it has a test about 7 inches in diameter found in the Pacific Ocean from Alaska to Baja California. It lives in shallow waters from the low-tide line to 90 metres (300 ft) deep, and is typically found on rocky shores that are sheltered from extreme wave action.


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Portuguese Man o' War… a colony of organisms..

Despite its outward appearance, the Man o’ War is not a true jellyfish but a siphonophore, which differ from jellyfish in that they are not actually a single creature, but a colonial organism made up of many minute individuals called zooids

The Man o’ War is found in warm water seas floating on the surface of open ocean, its air bladder keeping it afloat and acting as a sail while the rest of the organism hangs below the surface. It has no means of self-propulsion and is entirely dependent on winds, currents, and tides. It is most common in the tropical and subtropical regions of the Pacific and Indian oceans, but can drift outside of this range on warm currents such as the Atlantic Gulf Stream.

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Blue spotted stingray in Japanese waters…

The blue spotted stingray ( Dasyatis kuhlii), or blue-spotted maskray, is usually reddish-brown to green with bright blue centered spots (ocelli) and scattered black spots on the dorsal side. The ventral side is white. The tail is as long as the body with conspicuous black and white rings and a short upper caudal finfold, and longer lower finfold that ends behind the tail tip. There is usually one stinging spine on the tail.

The venomous tail spine can inflict a painful wound. They sting only when stepped on, but they are difficult to see since they are often buried in sandy bottoms.

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Info and photo courtesy of  Marinebio.org