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Lionfish concern at Forida’s Reef

Pretty much everything about the venomous lionfish—its red-and-white zebra stripes, long, showy pectoral fins, and generally cantankerous demeanor—says, “Don’t touch!”

The venom of the lionfish, delivered via an array of up to 18 needle-like dorsal fins, is purely defensive. It relies on camouflage and lightning-fast reflexes to capture prey, mainly fish and shrimp. A sting from a lionfish is extremely painful to humans and can cause nausea and breathing difficulties, but is rarely fatal.

Lionfish, also called turkey fish, dragon fish and scorpion fish, are native to the reefs and rocky crevices of the Indo-Pacific, although they’ve found their way to warm ocean habitats worldwide.

Currently they are a big cause for concern at Florida’s reef as they have few natural enemies such as some big shark species. They are taking over in large numbers and multiplying quickly eating many other endangered reef fish. Speculation of their release ranges from Hurricane Sandy’s destructive path to mis-guided fish collectors that released them when they could not make money from their sale.

Celene Couseau ( http://celinecousteau.wordpress.com/ ) has attested to their tasting good making them somewhat popular to very careful spear fishermen.

Learn, Connect, Defend!
www.OceanDefenderHawaii.com

Some of the information above is from National Geographic
Photo: Andy Wingate (tagged)

Photo: Pretty much everything about the venomous lionfish—its red-and-white zebra stripes, long, showy pectoral fins, and generally cantankerous demeanor—says, "Don't touch!"

The venom of the lionfish, delivered via an array of up to 18 needle-like dorsal fins, is purely defensive. It relies on camouflage and lightning-fast reflexes to capture prey, mainly fish and shrimp. A sting from a lionfish is extremely painful to humans and can cause nausea and breathing difficulties, but is rarely fatal.

Lionfish, also called turkey fish, dragon fish and scorpion fish, are native to the reefs and rocky crevices of the Indo-Pacific, although they've found their way to warm ocean habitats worldwide.

Currently they are a big cause for concern at Florida's reef as they have few natural enemies such as some big shark species. They are taking over in large numbers and multiplying quickly eating many other endangered reef fish. Speculation of their release ranges from Hurricane Sandy's destructive path to mis-guided fish collectors that released them when they could not make money from their sale. 

Celene Couseau ( http://celinecousteau.wordpress.com/ ) has attested to their tasting good making them somewhat popular to very careful spear fishermen. 

Learn, Connect, Defend!
www.OceanDefenderHawaii.com

Some of the information above is from National Geographic
Photo: Andy Wingate (tagged)

New jellyfish species discovered on Gold Coast..Australia

ABC News Gold Coast  

A curious child from Paradise Point is responsible for the discovery of a new species of box jellyfish found in a local canal.  Nine-year-old Saxon Thomas found the new species when fishing in his backyard canal.  Scientists have now confirmed the jellyfish is a new scientific discovery.

But Australian Marine Stinger Advisory services director Lisa Gershwin says there is a lot more to learn about it.  “We’re still trying to name it,” Ms Gershwin says.

“I haven’t met Saxon yet but my intention is to one of these days when I meet him ask him what he would like it to be named… I wanna give him the choice to name it because I think it’s such a wonderful thing that here’s these kids out playing with nature and going ‘hey wait, that’s different – what’s that?’ – and now we know. What a fabulous find.”

Queensland Museum’s marine expert Doctor Merrick Ekins has examined the jellyfish.

“A new species is always very exciting. We’ve got a bit more work to do to work out exactly what it is… but it’s definitely in the same family as the box jellyfish. But it’s not THE box jellyfish which is a big relief,” Dr Ekins says.

“The first thing we did was to make sure it wasn’t thechironex fleckeri box jellyfish that’s infamous for killing people, because if that’s suddenly appearing down here on the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast then that would be a real issue for swimmers.”

However, it is not yet known if this new species is dangerous in its own way.

“We don’t know about that… whether it gives you a sting is most likely. It’s probably not life threatening but we don’t know.”

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Red Sea Fire Urchin…

Asthenosoma marisrubri (‘flexible body of the Red Sea’) aka Red Sea Fire Urchin and Toxic Leather Sea Urchin , is a relatively common sea urchin with a widespread distribution in the Indo-Pacific, and it subsists on a great variety of food including algae, coral polyps and bottom detritus. It is most active at night and is named for the extreme pain inflicted by its spines and its occurrence in the Red Sea.

SeaUrchin-kit

www.oceancaresolutions

Sea Urchin first aid kit

Don’t get stung without it!

 

Stingray Season in Florida..April to October

Stingray season on Florida beaches runs approximately between the months of April and October. (The most popular time for Florida beach vacations. Imagine that.) It is during these months that these sea creatures come into the warmer shallow Florida Gulf Coast waters to mate.

Stingray-kit

They also are lazy and bury themselves in the bottom sand to stay away from being eaten by sharks or other larger rays. Activity and energy frighten these shy sea creatures. They can’t see well and rely on electro-sensors/vibrations to let them know they are in danger. So remember to do the “shuffle” when entering the water or take along an OCS Stingray 1st aid kit if you don’t…

David McRee..Beach Survival Guide..www.blogthebeach.com

Stingray Facts…Cownose rays are related to sharks and skates

Photo: Stingray facts....The Cownose Ray....Cownose rays are related to sharks and skates. This stingray belongs to the Family Myliobatidae, which includes bat rays, manta rays and eagle rays.</p>
<p>Cownose rays get their name from their unique forehead, which resembles the nose of a cow. They are brown to olive-colored on top with no spots, and pale below. Cownose males are about 2½ feet across. Females are 2-3 feet across.The tail is about twice as long as the body. Beach-goers sometimes mistake these rays for sharks. When the rays are swimming near the surface, the tips of the wings sometimes stick out of the water, resembling a shark's dorsal fin.</p>
<p>Cownose rays can be found in the Atlantic Ocean along western Africa, the eastern U.S., the Gulf of Mexico and parts of the Caribbean. They are considered an open ocean species, but can inhabit inshore, shallow bays and estuaries. They prefer warm temperate and tropical waters to depths of 72 feet. Many gather in Chesapeake Bay during the summer months.</p>
<p>Cownose rays feed on bottom-dwelling shellfish, lobster, crabs and fish. To locate their prey, cownose rays have electroreceptors on their snouts as well as excellent senses of smell and touch. They will stir up the bottom with their flexible wing tips or use their noses to root around in the mud or sand. Once they find their prey, they flap their wings rapidly to move the sand aside.</p>
<p>They suck water and sand into their mouths and blow it out through their gills to create a depression in the sand that allows easier access to their food.</p>
<p>They have very strong teeth arranged in flat plates that are perfect for crunching hard-shelled prey. These rays spit out the shells of the animals they eat, and only swallow the soft body parts.</p>
<p>Stingrays are known for their stingers, but they are actually very docile creatures. Cownose rays school and migrate in large groups, sometimes up to thousands of individuals. They are strong swimmers and can migrate long distances. Scientists believe that the migrations may be triggered by seasonal changes in water temperature and sun orientation.</p>
<p>They have been seen jumping clear out of the water and landing on their bellies, making loud smacking sounds. They don't rest on the bottom as much as other types of stingrays.</p>
<p>Article courtesy of St Louis Zoo

Cownose rays get their name from their unique forehead, which resembles the nose of a cow. They are brown to olive-colored on top with no spots, and pale below. Cownose males are about 2½ feet across. Females are 2-3 feet across.The tail is about twice as long as the body. Beach-goers sometimes mistake these rays for sharks. When the rays are swimming near the surface, the tips of the wings sometimes stick out of the water, resembling a shark’s dorsal fin.

Cownose rays can be found in the Atlantic Ocean along western Africa, the eastern U.S., the Gulf of Mexico and parts of the Caribbean. They are considered an open ocean species, but can inhabit inshore, shallow bays and estuaries. They prefer warm temperate and tropical waters to depths of 72 feet. Many gather in Chesapeake Bay during the summer months.

Cownose rays feed on bottom-dwelling shellfish, lobster, crabs and fish. To locate their prey, cownose rays have electroreceptors on their snouts as well as excellent senses of smell and touch. They will stir up the bottom with their flexible wing tips or use their noses to root around in the mud or sand. Once they find their prey, they flap their wings rapidly to move the sand aside.

They suck water and sand into their mouths and blow it out through their gills to create a depression in the sand that allows easier access to their food.

They have very strong teeth arranged in flat plates that are perfect for crunching hard-shelled prey. These rays spit out the shells of the animals they eat, and only swallow the soft body parts.

Stingrays are known for their stingers, but they are actually very docile creatures. Cownose rays school and migrate in large groups, sometimes up to thousands of individuals. They are strong swimmers and can migrate long distances. Scientists believe that the migrations may be triggered by seasonal changes in water temperature and sun orientation.

They have been seen jumping clear out of the water and landing on their bellies, making loud smacking sounds. They don’t rest on the bottom as much as other types of stingrays.

Stingray-kit

Article courtesy of St Louis Zoo

Indo-Pacific Hell Fire Sea Anemone

Sea anemone facts….The Hell’s Fire Anemone (Actinodendron plumosum) belongs to the Actinodendron genus, and is one of the ‘stinging sea anemones’ in the Actinodendronidae family which are found only in the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific.

Photo: Sea anemone facts....The Hell's Fire Anemone (Actinodendron plumosum) belongs to the Actinodendron genus, and is one of the 'stinging sea anemones' in the Actinodendronidae family which are found only in the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific.

These anemones are so named 'stinging sea anemones' because of their capacity to sting humans badly. Although all anemones have stinging cells or nematocysts found in their tentacles, these anemones have a dangerous sting that is extremely powerful and is very painful. Another anemone from this group, the Bali Fire Anemone (Megalactis hemprichi), is similar in this regard and is also referred to as a Hell's Fire Anemone.

The Actinodendron genus is a unique group of anemones that are basically in a class all their own. They look more like colonies of soft corals than actinides. Typically they have busy, branched long tentacles. The Hell's Fire Anemone has tentacles with a leaf shaped or feather-like appearance, thus they are also known as the Pinnate Anemone. They bury their foot and body in the sand with only their oral disc and tentacles emerging. When disturbed they can retract their entire body into the sand and be virtually invisible.

Credit:Animal-World

These anemones are so named ‘stinging sea anemones’ because of their capacity to sting humans badly. Although all anemones have stinging cells or nematocysts found in their tentacles, these anemones have a dangerous sting that is extremely powerful and is very painful. Another anemone from this group, the Bali Fire Anemone (Megalactis hemprichi), is similar in this regard and is also referred to as a Hell’s Fire Anemone.

The Actinodendron genus is a unique group of anemones that are basically in a class all their own. They look more like colonies of soft corals than actinides. Typically they have busy, branched long tentacles. The Hell’s Fire Anemone has tentacles with a leaf shaped or feather-like appearance, thus they are also known as the Pinnate Anemone. They bury their foot and body in the sand with only their oral disc and tentacles emerging. When disturbed they can retract their entire body into the sand and be virtually invisible.

IMG_3501

OCS Jellyfish sting relief spray is tested effective on envenomations from sea anemone..Safe, effective and lidocaine free..Don’t get stung without it !!

Article Credit:Animal-World

 

 

 

 

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

Dive Flag App Travels, Shop & Product Reviews

Product Review – Jellyfish Sting Relief Solution

About Ocean Care Solutions

Ocean Care Solutions’ (OCS) first aid products were developed by Kevin, a certified scuba diver. Kevin noticed that there was no convenient, proven medically effective, first aid products for stings from the Lionfish, the Man of War, the Sea Urchin, the Stingray, Fire Coral and Jellyfish. For two years Kevin consulted with international marine science and emergency medical communities to develop what they refer to as ‘the definitive Gold Standard’ for sea sting injuries. All OCS’s products have been developed without the reliance of myths, home remedies or guesswork.
Ron at OCS got in contact with Dive Flag App in a hope to have their product reviewed and publicized to Scuba Divers around the world. After initial discussions OCS sent us, here at Dive Flag App, a package containing a few hundred samples to test and distribute to other Dive Flag App members.  Today we had the opportunity to test their most ‘popular’ product the Jellyfish Sting Relief Solution (JSR Solution). This was a timely arrangement as Australia is currently experiencing an outbreak of jellyfish including the Blue Blubber Jellyfish (common name).

Product Description – Jellyfish Sting Relief Solution

OCS’s JSR Solution was developed to neutralize the stinging cells of jellyfish. The solution suspends any remaining pain causing nematocysts (stinging cells) from firing.  The directions of use are as follows:
  1.  Rinse the injury with salt water only,
  2.  Shake the spray and simultaneously press down on the top to pump the solution,
  3.  Apply the safe JSR Solution for 3-5 minutes, and then
  4.  Simply scrape away the pain.  Re-apply if necessary.
The application of the JSR solution is to ‘de-activate’ the jellyfish stinging cells. For the best results it is recommended that you apply the JSR Solution as soon as possible after having been stung. Delay in the use of this product limits effectiveness.
The JSR Solution comes in a small and convenient spray bottle made with medically recommended 5% acetic acid for the best results.

Product Trial

Dive Flag App were naturally skeptical about the effectiveness of OCS’s JSR Solution and so we decided to test the product out. Before reading further it is important to note that Dive Flag App did so under the supervision of trained emergency personnel and in no way is Dive Flag App suggesting that other members perform the following test.
Frank Vorster located two Blue Blubber Jellyfish in the Gold Coast Seaway, Queensland, Australia. He proceeded to sting himself in two ‘similar’ locations by lightly pressing up against the tentacles of the two jellyfish as they floated by. To one location he applied the JSR Solution and to the other he applied nothing. Eager to test the product out – others part-took in the experiment too.

Observations

  1. Within one minute, the stinging sensation on the hand with the JSR Solution started to subside whilst the second location’s continued to intensify as more stinging cells activated.
  2. After five minutes the stinging sensation on the location with the JSR Solution had all but faded completely, whilst the stinging sensation of the second location continued.
  3. Frank wiped the location with the JSR Solution as directed. The location where he had applied the JSR Solution appeared unaffected. Whilst having  wiped off the second location in a similar fashion had only activated the remaining stinging cells, effectively reactivating the sting.
  4. For a further 25 minutes Frank felt the stinging sensation on the second location whilst the location where the JSR Solution was applied felt “like it was never stung”.

Product Review

The JSR Solution performed as OCS had claimed. The product was easy to apply and immediately effective. The quality is guaranteed by OCS’s Californian manufacturing facility. A single 1oz bottle can be used to relieve 4 stings and the 4oz bottle can relieve up to 12 stings. With a shelf life of over 2 years the product can be stored without concern.
  • Price: 5/5
  • Effectiveness: 5/5
  • Quality: 5/5
  • Product Recommendation: Don’t get stung without it! Don’t go diving without it!
Dive Flag App highly recommend that all beach going, water sport activists and especially scuba divers keep a bottle of the solution in their bag. The product is incredible effective and useful.

Where to Buy the Product

Dive Flag App is so impressed with the effectiveness of the solution, we have worked out an arrangement with Ocean Care Solutions to become the exclusive distributor for these products. Dive Flag App is currently developing an on-line store where you can buy the product. If you would like a sample, to purchase some units for personal use or become a retailer for these products, simply email us for more information: info@diveflagapp.com .

Blessed Diving,

Dive Flag App
www.diveflagapp.com
info@diveflagapp.com
www.facebook.com/diveflagapp

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Invasive Species: Indo-Pacific LionFish (Pterois volitans) in the Atlantic and Caribbean Sea!

GVI Mexico – August Achievements

The invasion of lionfish, native to the Indo-Pacific, into the Atlantic and Caribbean Sea is not only one of the most rapid in marine history but also having extremely detrimental effects to local species and ecosystems.

Recently introduced via un/intentional release, they have spread extremely quickly throughout the Caribbean, since their first sightings around Florida in 2000, they have spread as far south as Venezuela within 10 years1.

While in their native habitat, lionfish breed seasonally, invasive lionfish in the Atlantic have been documented breeding all-year round2. They can produce between 4000 and 30,000 eggs each time they spawn which are then dispersed great distances along oceanic surface currents, during an estimated pelagic larval duration of 20 to 35 days, before settlement3. Unlike other fish species, Lionfish can settle on and inhabit nearly all marine habitat types and depths between surface levels to over 300m, in temperatures between10-35 degrees Celsius4,5. However, with the rising sea temperatures due to global warming, this potentially invasive region is increasing. Lionfish are also generalist carnivores that can consume over 70 species of fish, up to half their own body length, including commercially, recreationally, and ecologically important species6. On heavily invaded sites, lionfish consume native fish at unsustainable rates. As such, food competition can also lead to depleting food sources for native carnivores.

Here at Pez Maya we have been collecting information on the invasive lionfish so as to document its effects on the local ecosystem. So far this year the average number of sightings per dive per week has been slowly increasing.

As well as a steady increase in the average number of sightings per dive, there is also a noticeable increase in the sizes of lionfish seen on our dive sites. This general increase in size supports theories that invasive lionfish are larger than they are in their native ranges7, suggesting higher levels of local prey consumption and lionfish reproduction this year. In fact, we caught three individuals, one male and two females, that had fully developed and spawning capable gonads or very developed gonads nearing spawning capability.                                                                                                                

Lionfish can inhabit nearly all habitat types, including important nursery areas such as mangroves and lagoon areas, and other areas with high levels of trophic interaction such as the fore-reef and reef crest. As such we have frequently observed lionfish within the reserve at our inner-reef dive sites, such as “Gardens”, which are commonly used as a nursery habitat for juvenile reef fish.

Invasive adult lionfish, however, have been documented as having a preferred microhabitat of complex topographical structures, especially overhanging structures, and lots of coral cover8, such as our dive site “Special K”. As such, the invasive lionfish exhibited similar patterns of microhabitat occupancy as two local, and already over fished, species; the Grouper and Snapper complex, as seen at our local dive site “Hang 10”. The additional stress put on these species through this direct food competition is hindering any efforts to replenish the declining Grouper and Snapper populations.

As discussed before, on heavily invaded reefs lionfish can consume prey faster than their production on, or recruitment to, the reef. As such, the additional stress put on these species through this direct food competition is hindering any efforts to replenish the declining Grouper and Snapper populations. Also, the lionfish is having a negative impact on the Meso-American barrier reef system through the unsustainable consumption of newly recruited herbivorous species by invasive lionfish is limiting algal grazing on a reef system that is already in threat of a shift to an algal dominated reef.

Lionfish feed primarily on teleosts, fish with bony skeletons, which include the majority of the local marine species, and few other crustaceans, primarily shrimps, more commonly consumed by smaller classes of lionfish. However, lionfish are generalist consumers and will quickly abandon their usual diet for any abundant food source.

Because lionfish captured and removed from an area would “be replaced largely through larval recruitment rather than migration of older individuals”9, “localized control efforts would need to be carried out frequently in order to maintain a  younger, smaller population”10, which can be very costly and  makes eradication programs extremely difficult.

However, the data collected here is very useful for future planning of local control efforts and will hopefully be used to co-ordinate our future lionfish control efforts which, if implemented well, can control local populations and even generate income for local communities. Also, and possibly more importantly, lionfish ceviche is a very welcome addition to base cuisine!

 

To find out more about the research going on in Mexico, please have a search through our current programs, ourblog, or feel free to contact us for more information – we would love to hear from you!

Alternatively, you can make a difference to our projects in Mexico now by making a donation to our Charitable Trust project, ‘Protect Marine Ecosystems in Mexico’.

 

1: Morris, J (2009): Biology, Ecology, Control and Management of the Invasive Indo-Pacific Lionfish: An Updated Integrated Assessment

2: Morris, J (2011): Oogenesis and spawn formation in the invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans)

3: Green, S (2011): Potential effects of climate change on a marine invasive: The importance of current context

4: Biggs, C (2011): Multi-scale habitat occupancy of invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans) in coral reef environments of Roatanm Hondorus

5: Kimball, M: (2004) – Thermal tolerance and potential distribution of invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans/ miles complex) on the east coast of the        United States.

6: Green, S (2012):  Invasive Lionfish Drive Atlantic Coral Reef Fish Declines

7: Green, S (2011): Indo-Pacific lionfish are larger and more abundant on invaded reefs: a comparison of Kenyan and Bahamian lionfish populations

8: Biggs, C (2011): Multi-scale habitat occupancy of invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans) in coral reef environments of Roatanm Hondorus

9: Barbour, A: (2011): Evaluating the Potential Efficacy of Invasive Lionfish (Pterois volitans) Removals.

10: Ibid