How to Understand Hazardous Marine Life

Marine animals don’t know what to make of divers. If we keep still, they will treat us as part of the scenery. If we breathe out a lot of bubbles, they will beat a hasty retreat. The bigger the animal, the more cautious it seems to be.


Many of the lifeforms that make up plankton have stinging cells that give an uncomfortable and irritating sting. Plankton is part of the ‘soup’ that is the basis of the food chain underwater, and it’s all around you. If you want to avoid it, you should wear a full suit, of course.

In general, it is the sedentary animals that come armed with venom. Free-swimming predators can swiftly escape into the safety of the ocean’s open water and don’t need to use poison.


Jellyfish are a serious hazard because some have stings that can cause anaphylactic shock. Jellyfish may be fascinating to look at as they pulsate along in their aimless manner, but if you are not sure which ones sting and which ones don’t, it’s best to keep away. The poisonous Portuguese man-of-war jellyfish, with its purple sail and extremely long stinging tentacles, floats around the temperate oceans of the world. The deadly sea wasp or box jellyfish is indigenous to tropical Pacific waters and kills far more people than any shark.

Fire coral, which is a pretty brown colour with a white fringe, is not a true coral. It is common in shallow, well-lit water and can deliver a nasty burning sting. It has ruined many a holiday for anyone unlucky enough to come into contact with it.

Jellyfish may be interesting to watch, but do not touch them.

Venomous creatures

One animal responsible for some deaths in the waters of Queensland, Australia, is the blue-ringed octopus. It is minute and would be easy prey so it defends itself from predators with its a venomous bite.

The stonefish sits all day without moving, looking, as you would guess, like a stone. It even covers itself with weeds and algae to help with the effect. The creature uses this strategy to make itself the perfect ambush predator. As it is hardly able to move, it cannot flee predators but is armed with a set of stinging spines that makes it one of the most venomous creatures on the planet.

The scorpionfish family, which includes the stonefish, has another deadly member -the lionfish. These creatures look like wasps, and they, too, are armed and dangerous. Another animal to avoid is the pretty cone shell. This marine snail can shoot out poisonous darts.

All these animals are often encountered, so dive with your eyes and not your hands. Never touch anything unnecessarily.

Beware of sharks and stingrays

Sharks have a very effective set of teeth so don’t annoy them. If you leave them alone, they won’t bother you. Sharks are timid and usually stay well clear of divers.

Stingrays are not normally considered hazardous to divers, but they can harm you if they are aggravated.

Filed Under: Sports & Fitness


About the Author: Cody Riffel is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo. She likes to write on variety of topics, whatever interests her. She also likes to share what she learns over the Internet and her day-to-day life.

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