Blog about Underwater Life and Scuba Diving

Most dangerous marine animals of the Red Sea

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As fascinating as Red Sea might be, it’s not without dangers, especially when it comes to rich underwater life. If you ever get a chance to go deep into the amazing but dangerous waters, be sure to know names and see photos of these creatures first.

Family of Scorpaenidae

Stonefish

Among the representatives of Scorpaenidae family, such kinds as Synanceia verrucosa, S.trachynis and S.horrida (having about 30 centimetres length), being possibly, the most poisonous of all fishes, are the most dangerous ones. Danger is in the poison which any of 13 back thorns capable to pierce even a thick rubber sole can inject into a wound, and even in ideal masking of these creations usually motionlessly lying among stones and merging with surrounding background. The pain from a prick arises at once and amplifies within 10 minutes, becoming intolerable. The painful shock can cause delirium and consciousness loss, a paralysis.

StoneFish

First aid.  Lay down  and calm the victim. Pull out all thorns and wash out the wounds. If hands or feet are injured, lift it above. The injured site of the body lower in very hot water (not less than 50 degree.) to destroy toxin. If such procedure is impossible, replace it with imposing of a hot compress (sometimes even the decaying ends of cigarettes may be used). Constantly wash out the wound. In case the victim loses consciousness , apply indirect massage of heart and artificial breath. Intramuscular injection of antidote is necessary.

Note:
The Scorpaenidae family consists of about 330 kinds of fishes (except the Stonefish), including quite dangerous ones. They also use poisonous back-thorns for protection against enemies that your hands and feet can appear to be.

Pterois miles ( LionFish )

The brown-striped Pterois miles is rather effective, especially when developing its fins as huge and motley as wings of butterflies. It is the habitual inhabitant of coral reeves of Red sea. The presence of skin-divers never bothers Lionfishes and it is possible to come closer to them easily, but it is desirable to observe them cautiously, without touching: if it feels threat an attack against the strange visitor can become its reaction. Despite the non-aggressive beahviour of Lionfishes, they are very dangerous because their back thorns connected to poisonous glands can pierce very painful pricks.

First aid. The injured wound need to be washed out in extremely hot water (toxins of the Scorpaenidae, having the albuminous nature, dye out).

BATOIDEA

Electric Rays

Electric Rays (family Torpedinidae) remind vessels on air cushion by their form and habits. They swim slowly enough, and their chest fins surround the body widely. Usually they lie on shoal, being half dug in the friable bottom, and are fed mainly with Crustacea. Between negatively charged bottom party of their body and positively charged top there is a pressure from 8 to 220 volt. The electricity is produced while touching the electric bodies located sideways from eyes. Sensations arising form this are various – from light to an electroshock when the deafened person can choke and sink.

First aid. Take the victim to the surface. Specific treatment it is not required.

Stingrays

Stingrays (family Dasyatidae) – ground animals with the large flat body, often burying in sand so that only their eyes are noticeable. As well as electric slopes, they are non-aggressive, but, feeling the threat (for example if you come on them unintentionally), they fly into a rage. Blows of these fish having long tail with one or several sharp thorns are capable to wound as seriously as a sword. Moreover, though their thorns are poisonous and dangerous by themselves, but especially – during such active defense. Collision with stingray can actually lead to the skin-diver’s death both from physical injuries, and from the poison injected into the organism.

First aid.  The intoxication caused by thorns of хвостокол, demands the same first aid, as  in case with Stonefish. If the victim has simultaneously got deep lacerations, it is important to stop the bleeding and to take the victim out of the shock.

EELS

Among these ones the most aggressive to people are Moray eels (family Murenidae). Huge moray eel G. javanicus can injure seriously with its teeth, though usually this fish behaves calmly and even it is benevolent. Under water moray eels look horrible, however their constantly open mouth covered with sharp teeth which is accepted as a threat, actually is connected with breath. Though many morays obviously welcome attention and offered delicacies (even cases of taming the moray eels are known ), it is not recommended to feed these fishes, otherwise they begin to expect the same from all skin-divers who should pay off for your generosity. The nature has awarded moray eels with long teeth deeply getting into a body of the person, bulldog’s jaws and a slippery body which is very difficult to grasp. Besides, if they stick into you with their teeth, without entirely getting out of the hole, it is almost impossible to get them moving forward and you have to tear off predator from you literally “with meat”. The result is laceration and  plentiful bleeding.

First aid. Carefully wash out a wound and if necessary sew it up. To prevent the infection enter antibiotics and anti-tetanic liquid  whey. Watch closely, whether the condition of the victim worsens.

Surgeonfishes

Surgeon-fishes , presented at us by the sorts Acanthuridae (thorn tail) and Zebrasoma are obliged by the name to the  bony plates sharp as an edge of a scalpel,  located on each side of a tail stalk. They are absolutely harmless, if  you “don’t stick to them”. However, feeling sick, they can fearlessly rush to attack and wound. Fish aspires to strike the enemy by the tail, leaving on its body deep wounds. Fishes-rhinoceroses belong to the same family. They have one or two pairs of motionless thorns.

Zebrasoma , Yellow Tang Acanthuridae

First aid. It is necessary to leave the water immediately and to be engaged in the wound. It should be washed out carefully in extremely hot water to neutralize possible toxins, then the bleeding should be stopped and the wound be processed with antiseptic ointment.

CONUS

After Kauri bowls of cones are possibly the most extended in collections. This family of sea snails (Conidae) unites more than 400 kinds. For them all the bowl of the conic form with the long and narrow mouth, external edge of which is sharp enough is characteristic. On the basis of a cone the bowl coils, usually almost not acting one over another are well noticeable. Though all these mollusks have well-developed poisonous teeth-graters, stings only approximately of 10 kinds result in heavy and even lethal consequences for the person, basically рыбоядных. A bowl is of a textile cone (С textile) with khaki colors and dark brown lines, scaly drawing. This kind is spread in Red sea. The mouth of cones is extended in a trunk that is seen out of the mouth and is capable to reach almost to any point of a bowl, therefore it is not recommended to suffice the mollusk barehanded Attacking extraction, it wounds with its poisonous tooth separating from a grater which have been let out from the trunk.  This “harpoon” punches a skin of the person, and sometimes is capable to make a hole even in dense clothes. Poison leaves the small extraction motionless and then is swallowed by a snail in the stretched stomach of the fish. The cone sting can cause pain and swelling, especially in salty water, as well as it may cause the victim not to feel the wounded place. It turns pale and is surrounded with a bluish border. In 10 minutes the whole body can become paralyzed, and after half an hour it may even turn into a paralysis. The paralysis of respiratory muscles is dangerous as it can lead to the loss of consciousness and death. Sometimes warm heart insufficiency may appear, but in most cases this condition is a consequence of the complicated breath.


First aid. It is necessary to fix the wounded leg, to apply pressing bandage, to calm the victim and urgently to call the ambulance. In case of paralysis before the arrival of experts it is necessary to practice a cardio-pulmonal resuscitation.

Acanthaster planci

The Acanthaster planci is a poisonous starfish. At a careless touch of the person to the thorns covering its numerous beams, it injects puison into the wound. Sometimes, having broken off, thorns can get stuck in the body of the skin-diver. At once there is a severe pain not ceasing for some hours. The considerable bleeding and an inflammation of the wounded place are also possible. During the first hours the lymph nodes close to it usually swell up and become painful to touch. The pain, a hypostasis and the general feeling of sick can remain for months, especially if there are fragments of thorns in the body. In the process of easing of symptoms the itch sometimes amplifies.

Acanthaster planci

First aid. It is necessary to remove thorns and their rests from the body, to lower in hot water the wounded place, and to draw a plait over it. The victim should be put in horizontal position.

Sea Urchins

Their needles can put serious traumas. The pain, sometimes sharp, arises at once after a prick and lasts 4 hours. The wounded place can grow dumb and inflame. Sea hedgehog Diadema setosum (a black diadem) possesses long and thin thorns. The sea urchin- Asthenosoma varium with poisonous glands on the ends of the thorns is much more dangerous.

First aid. The needle need to be quickly removed from the wound in any accessible way as they, even having come off a body of a urchin, continue to inject poison. Then the wounded place should be washed out with an antiseptics, for instance juice of papaya. Watch breath of the victim, probably artificial ventilation of lungs is required. Fragments of needles are to be shattered with a firm object and to process the wounded place with a solution of a lemon juice or acetic acid they are torn away by the organism , in 1-3 days, though sometimes surgical intervention is required.

Coral Cuts

Many corals are covered with sharp ledges by which it is possible to be wounded strongly. Consequences of these cuts or scratches happen rather serious as the damaged part of the skin is easily infected with the microorganisms living in slime covering a coral, and gets littered with alien particles, including yet “not shot”  nematocysts. Frequently such cuts are not payed attention to as they look harmlessly. However in some hours or even days there is a burning amplifying in hot water, sometimes a skin on a cut place swells up, reddens and becomes painful in case of pressing and movement. AS a result an abscess, an ulcer or an inflammation with the strong itch can develope, lasting for weeks. The so-called “a fiery coral” needs to be payed special attention to. Actually it’s not a coral at all, it belongs to the class od hydroids and has a limy skeleton. The fiery coral of Millipora kind causes extremely painful burns at a touch.

First aid. It is necessary to process the wound with the diluted acetic acid to reduce the pain. Other means is papaya oil. Wound processing should be carried out not later than in 10 minutes. It will prevent hit of harmful substances on a sensitive skin. The redness, an itch, burning, an inflammation and a tumor can remain within several weeks after the incident.


The general principles of processing the wounds

Delay edges of a wound and wash out the internal surface with a pure gauze or a fabric moistened as carefully as possible in flowing water. Remove alien particles from a wound by your hands, tweezers or a sticky tape. Try to stop the bleeding. Probably, a hard bandage will be enough, but in certain cases sewing up the wound may be necessary. In case the victim appears in a plait too long complications may arise. Deliver the victim to the ambilance as soon as possible.


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