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Black stinging "weed" underwater - what is it?

Discussion in 'Cozumel' started by checkyourmirrors, Dec 17, 2008.

  1. checkyourmirrors

    checkyourmirrors Angel Fish

    While diving in Coz last week I rubbed up against what looked like black weeds where my skin was exposed. It caused immediate pain similar to bee stings that lasted a few minutes. Almost like underwater stinging nettles.

    Does anyone know what this was and I didn't think it was fire coral?
  2. driftin' by

    driftin' by Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Colorado
  3. ggunn

    ggunn ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Austin, TX, USA
    I've always heard it called "hydroid". It's a colony animal related to jellyfish. Usually one encounter such as yours is enough to get you to pay attention and avoid touching it. I know it was for me. ;^)
  4. driftin' by

    driftin' by Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Colorado
    Gordon has the correct scientific name, it's definately a hydroid. 'Hydra' is just my Spanglish interpretation I've gotten over the years from DM's. In any event, once you've encountered it, you'll never forget it!
  5. Dave Zimmerly

    Dave Zimmerly Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Pittsburgh, PA
    Yeah, I got stung on my hand both in May and November (same hand!). Since I dive with my hands behind my back, it's still a mystery how I came into contact with it.

    Takes about a month for it to heal.

    Dave (aka "Squirt")
  6. Sue Sue

    Sue Sue Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    It leaves the most delightful raised red rash as well :doh: This stuff really stings and it does take 4-6 weeks to completely heal. You can try topical treatments, but I have yet to find anything that really helps. I too got hit with this stuff... twice. Once, I admit, due to my error, with another occurrence from out of the blue, literally.... I was going along, in the middle of nowhere, away from any coral or reef and POW, huge sting on my ankle. Once on top, I had the same hive like rash that I had from the prior incident. Could it perhaps come from floating hydroid that had broken off somewhere else? Or maybe just from another type of stinging critter of sorts. Maybe this is what happened to you Dave. ???? Regardless, hydroid is a very good reason to pay close attention to buoyancy.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2008
  7. driftin' by

    driftin' by Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Colorado
    Or are the symptoms just delayed? That seems to have been my experience with it... it'll take a few moments to realize you had an unfortunate encounter. And I've seen broken bits of it floating around and have done what I can to avoid it. So I guess anything is possible?
  8. Prop Joe

    Prop Joe Photographer

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: NW suburb of Chicago, Illinois USA
    Yup, Hydroids. You will see the dive masters with the same issue's from the dang things. I get stung by them every year. No matter how careful I am I always seem to get stung. Easy to brush against while chasing critters with camera as they do not show up through the view finder. I've also been setting up for a shot in close quarters and had another diver swim above me blowing the hydroid into my hands with one kick of their fins. Get the strongest hydroquartizone cream you can and apply frequently. That is the only thing that seems to help my skin. I've also tried scraping the stingers off with the backside of my EMT shears before surfacing... Seemed to help. Takes a few weeks to go away. Mileage may vary.
  9. cduffey

    cduffey Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Montgomery, Alabama
    My husband seems to encounter it just about every time we're in Coz. His reaction is almost like poison ivy and the docs treat it like they would treat a poison ivy reaction.
  10. parrotheaddiver

    parrotheaddiver Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Southeast of Disorder...and San Marcos, Texas
    Yup...been there done that:D

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