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By the Wind Sailors..Stinging Cnidarians

Image via Wikimedia

Firstly; By-the-wind Sailor, what a wonderfully romantic name!  They get it from their lifestyle which is similar to our very own Portuguese Man o’ War, although they are much smaller and clearly a lot less famous. Sailors reach about 7 centimetres across and have quite a tough, rigid sail to harness the wind. It’s actually made of chitin, like insect exoskeletons. The sail I mean, not the wind. Like the Man o’ War, individuals have sails that bear either left or right into the wind so that when thousands are washed up on a beach, another few thousand have been sent in the opposite direction. When you have one sail and no oars or boat propeller I suppose something like that is necessary. A 50-50 chance is better than none at all! Surrounding the sail are rings of air filled tubes to provide buoyancy.

Image via Wikipedia

Despite the lovely name and care-free (until you hit the rocks) life style, By-the-wind Sailors are Cnidarians, which means they are meat eating, stinging monsters. In this case the tentacles are short, only about 1 cm long, and hang down below the edge of the disc and into the sea. They feed on tiny plankton of various kinds and seem to be completely harmless to humans, clearly a terrible disaster for their chances of fame.

It looks like most people consider By-the-wind Sailors to be made up of hydroid colonies, again, much like the Portuguese Man o’ War. Instead of one, big animal, it’s actually made up of lots of little ones that work together. It looks like others disagree and prefer to see it as something more like a floating, upside down Sea anemone with a sail on its foot. They both sound great to me!

Image Wikipedia

Either way, By-the-wind Sailors are all either male or female. When they mate, they first produce thousands of tiny jellyfish. These are about 3 mm across and are slightly brown because of their friends; inside their bodies are tiny microalgae that can gain energy from the Sun and provide some to their host. They are effectively paying for bed and board, which is nice of them. Eventually, the jellyfish will release sperm or eggs into the water to create new By-the-wind Sailors. Its a pretty odd life cycle, but then Cnidarians are utterly immersed in oddity so we’ll just have to get used to it.

I find it strange that I hadn’t heard of these creatures before. Loads of them get washed up all along the West coast of the US every year and they’ve even done the same in good ol’ Blighty. They look lovely with their rich, blue colours and concentric circles, yet there doesn’t seem to be great deal written about them. Shame. Looks like the Portuguese Man o’ War has stolen all the limelight!

Because the animal is a stinging cnidarian, although OCS has not had the opportunity to test our sting relief solution on this particular animal, all things considered, we are certain our product will provide effective sting relief should you get stung.

 

Article courtesy of Real Monstosities..

ARC and AHA recommend 5% acetic acid for jellyfish stings first aid..

The American Red Cross and American Heart Association announced changes to guidelines for administering first aid. Among the revisions are updated recommendations for the treatment of snake bites, anaphylaxis (shock), jellyfish stings and severe bleeding. The First Aid Guidelines are being published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Volunteer experts from more than 30 national and international organizations joined the Red Cross and the American Heart Association in reviewing 38 separate first aid questions. Experts analyzed the science behind them and worked to reach consensus on the treatment recommendations

In looking at the treatment of jellyfish stings, the revised guidelines reaffirm the recommendation to use vinegar to treat the sting. The vinegar neutralizes the venom and may prevent it from spreading. After the vinegar deactivates the venom, immersing the area in hot water for about 20 minutes is effective for reducing pain.

Ocean Care Solutions’ Jellyfish Sting Relief is specially formulated with 5% acetic acid is safe, gentle on your skin and very effective pain relief for a wide variety of jelly species and range of marine stings. Don’t get stung without it  !!