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Marine envenomations from corals, sea urchins, fish, or stingrays

Geoffrey K Isbister, MD
Section Editors
Daniel F Danzl, MD
Stephen J Traub, MD
Michele M Burns, MD, MPH
Deputy Editor
James F Wiley, II, MD, MPH


Marine injuries due to corals, sea urchins, fish spines, and stingrays will be reviewed here.

Jellyfish and Portuguese man-of-war stings and marine toxins, such as ciguatera, scombroid, and shellfish poisoning, are discussed separately. (See "Jellyfish stings" and "Overview of shellfish and pufferfish poisoning".)


The mode of envenomations by coral, sea urchins, venomous fish, and stingrays vary by animal. These envenomations are painful. The degree of pain is largely determined by the amount of venom injected and the animal encountered.

The puncture wounds associated with marine envenomations often have retained foreign bodies and are frequently contaminated. Most wounds are superficial although stingrays can cause deep penetrating injuries.

Coral — Coral are cnidarians, like jellyfish, and members of the class Anthozoa [1]. Coral stings and lacerations are common among snorkelers, surfers, and scuba divers who touch, step, or fall onto coral [2].

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Jul 26, 2016.
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