Common yet Deadly Critters found in Dauin

 

 

This section is not to make you worry for but it is here to let you be aware of dangers of Critters in the sea.!

Knowlage is key to Diving, Snorkeling and Swimming in the Sanctuary.

Being aware of aquatic sea life.

No Matter how many dives you have and how much you think you know the sea it is full of things to be aware of, the critters of the sea are no exception. Going into the sea is equivalent to going into a wild untamed forest or jungle; although most critters under the sea will not attack you most turn and run some will protect their environment, Nests and or are just aggressive.
With this in mind I will share a few examples as there are many I can discuss but I am going to keep this to critters that pertain to the Dauin Marine Sanctuary.

IMG_20160423_184040Titan triggerfish

The titan triggerfish,  is a large species of trigger fish and vary common in Dauin in the reef and Sandy areas I have seen them deep as 30 m  I have seen them in all parts of the reef.   I have seen them as small as my fist and as large as my fins (30 inches long)  it is the largest species of triggerfish.
The titan triggerfish is more active in the daytime and is somewhat solitary. It feeds on sea urchins, mollusks, crustaceans, tube worms and coral ( Can actually here them taking chunks of it these guys tend to turn rocks over and stir up the sand to find their food. Often times you will see much smaller fish mixed in eating bits that the triggerfish turns up as they stir things up plenty. Triggerfish are aggressive to other bigger fish that enter there territory and you are no different than any other fish to them … they do not see you as a human they see you as a big fish and they are prepared to fight for there ground!   The trigger fish is something to be concerned about as a diver and even more so a snorkeler.  During the reproductive season the female will guard there nest, as a diver you can see this nest (Most cases easy) they appear to be a cone shaped pit in the sand and the Female will tend to hover over this nest ensuring nothing hurts it.  For a diver be observant when entering into sandy flat areas, Divers should swim down and away from the nest as soon as they encounter them Snorkelers well you are at a disadvantage as this fish has a cone like territory over the nest the nest being to smallest area of its territory this means the more shallow the larger the area it protects is.

If you encounter a nesting Female your best is to turn away attempting to keep your fins between you and the fish.  This is a fish that is not to be messed with I swim with sharks and these guys scare me more than any shark.  They have Strong Sharp Teeth and can inflict serious injury if bitten by one you may need stitches to sew it up … I have witnessed divers getting bits of there ear bitten off and chunks of skin and flesh in a bite so be careful and swim away. 9 times out of 10 a Trigger fish will give warning you can see this by first (where they get there name) the top Dorsal fin will pop up and it may roll to its sited to get a better look at you, if it you had not headed it warning it will swim aggressively to you … most of the time this is to assess you …. Then swim away … this is your sign to get the HELL out of there … because the next swim to you will likely be a bitting attack … they have been known to take fins in there attack as well as dive gear but better your gear than you.

If bitten seek first aid as I said the fish can cause serious to minor damage treat accordingly.

The bit is not venomous but it will hurt plenty no need to worry about toxic affect from the bite.
The flesh of the titan triggerfish is sometimes be ciguatoxic this means try to avoid touching (not that you would but if it brushes up agents you, maybe be concerned as it may be contaminated with toxins that it has encountered by eating or foraging for food.

cockatoo-waspfish4

Waspfish  

  • This fish is in most cases venomous fish, there are mutable varieties of them in Dauin Marine Sanctuary, they can be found on the sea floor and are good at camouflage,  this fish is not aggressive and is best observed and not toyed with as a WASP will sing you!!!!

    The Waspish tends to be about 3 to 4 inches long or 10 to 12 cm, they are solitary and found in mostly the sandy or muddy part of the sanctuary.  They have spines that sometimes in most cases are not obvious but if jabbed by one likely it is as I said Venomous!  This fish tends to be found from 8m to 40m so with in the reputational dives limits and you should use great care when swimming close to objects or low to the sandy bottom of the sanctuary as you may not see them and simply rub up agents them and this is enough they will puncture a your wetsuit easily.

    What you should know about Waspfish:  Poisonous fish that live in Dauin Marine Sanctuary.

  • They all have erectile spines on their dorsal fin (some in other places just know that they have spines.
  • Because these fish are not aggressive, contact with them and the poisonings that result are usually accidental.
  • Contact with the sharp venomous fin ray spines that are covered with mucus-containing poison on waspfish causes mild  to severe envenomation. ( The sting of a waspfish tends to be more toxic than a sting from a scorpion fish or Lion Fish..
  • The Contact to the waspfish can be mild to life-threatening neurotoxin poisoning and is likened to cobra venom in toxicity.  ( Much of how toxic it is to you will depend on you and your reaction to it. Best to just avoid contact.

Poisons from these fish spines, in general, may produce the following symptoms, which may vary from person to person, and their intensity is related to the amount of toxin the person is exposed to.

  • Intense throbbing pain peaks in 1 to 2 hours and lasts 12 hours the pain may be so severe as to cause hallucinations.
  • Redness, bruising, swelling, numbness, tingling, blisters or vesicles, and tissue shedding at the wound site may occur.
  • Severe reactions include nausea, vomiting,  abdominal cramps, tremors, abnormal heart rhythms, weakness, slow heart rate, shortness of breath, seizures,  decreased blood pressure, fainting and paralysis. Death may occur

Poisoning Treatment

  • Remove the exposed person from the water to prevent drowning.
  • Immerse the wound for 30 to 90 minutes in water as hot as the poisoned person can tolerate (up to 140 F or 60 C) because the poisons are heat-sensitive. Repeat as necessary to control pain.
  • Local or regional anesthetics (blocks) may be useful in some patients for pain control
  • Use tweezers to remove any spines in the wound using caution to not squeeze venom glands that may have broken off in the wound with the spine. It is rare for a spine to break off in the wound. Use caution, wear gloves to avoid self-inoculation during spine removal.
  • Scrub the wound with soap and water. Then flush the affected area with fresh water.
  • Do not apply tape to close the wound as this may increase the risk of infection.
  • Patients may need a tetanus booster; this is usually recommended for all patients with this type of poisoning.

All cases of poisoning require medical attention to ensure no foreign material remains in the wound and to provide symptomatic care as needed

IMG_20160417_025155Lion Fish

The Lion fish in my opinion is likely the most common dangerous fish in Dauin, they tipicly are nonaggressive to humans but if you’re going to get pricked by a poisonous fish in Dauin this is likely the one you’re going to get it by. 

this fish is a predator fish, they have been observed (personally) searching for food in groups like pack animals, they also can be aggressive to other Lion fish invading their territory, These guys pose little risk to a diver if a diver is aware of them and where they are around them … they tend to swim away from a diver but if cornered they will defend themselves.  Most of the time I see them hiding in the corals on the reef side of the Sanctuary and on the muck diving side you will find them almost everywhere you find and object in the water … Mostly around the tires, rocks, anchors and ropes.  Everywhere!

These guys pose a danger as I have seen them in shallow 1m to Deep 30m (and deeper) So all Swimmers, snorkelers and divers need to use great care. 

I have observed at least 20 different types of these guys and not one is more common than the other.  They tend to just chill close to a rock,  see them most active in the early morning and late evening when it comes to hunting  all other times of the day they seem to be pretty chill vary little movement.

There is so much I can say about this fish and I will save it for another time as this is more a section on what to do and how to avoid getting pricked by one of these guys. They are extremely venomous and should be avoided. There prick can cause mild irritation and in some can cause death … but in most causes PAIN is the outcome.  

  • What you should know about all types of Lion Fish:  Poisonous fish that live in Dauin Marine Sanctuary.
  • They all have erectile spines on their dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins.
  • Because these fish are not aggressive, contact with them and the poisonings that result are usually accidental.
  • Contact with the sharp venomous fin ray spines that are covered with mucus-containing poison on waspfish causes mild  to severe envenomation.
  • The Contact to the lion fish can be mild to life-threatening neurotoxin poisoning and is likened to cobra venom in toxicity.  ( Much of how toxic it is to you will depend on you and your reaction to it. Best to just avoid contact.

Poisons from these fish spines, in general, may produce the following symptoms, which may vary from person to person, and their intensity is related to the amount of toxin the person is exposed to.

  • Intense throbbing pain peaks in 1 to 2 hours and lasts 12 hours the pain may be so severe as to cause hallucinations.
  • Redness, bruising, swelling, numbness, tingling, blisters or vesicles, and tissue shedding at the wound site may occur.
  • Severe reactions include nausea, vomiting,  abdominal cramps, tremors, abnormal heart rhythms, weakness, slow heart rate, shortness of breath, seizures,  decreased blood pressure, fainting and paralysis. Death may occur

Poisoning Treatment

  • Remove the exposed person from the water to prevent drowning.
  • Immerse the wound for 30 to 90 minutes in water as hot as the poisoned person can tolerate (up to 140 F or 60 C) because the poisons are heat-sensitive. Repeat as necessary to control pain.
  • Local or regional anesthetics (blocks) may be useful in some patients for pain control
  • Use tweezers to remove any spines in the wound using caution to not squeeze venom glands that may have broken off in the wound with the spine. It is rare for a spine to break off in the wound. Use caution, wear gloves to avoid self-inoculation during spine removal.
  • Scrub the wound with soap and water. Then flush the affected area with fresh water.
  • Do not apply tape to close the wound as this may increase the risk of infection.
  • Patients may need a tetanus booster; this is usually recommended for all patients with this type of poisoning.

All cases of poisoning require medical attention to ensure no foreign material remains in the wound and to provide symptomatic care as needed


IMG_20160415_121437Scorpion Fish 

There are many observed varieties of Scorpion Fish in Dauin Marine Sanctuary and they are a danger to Swimmers the most as they tend to find a nice spot and just sit there.  I have witness them in super shallow waters and they tend to blend in.  In saying that they are not just a danger to Swimmers alone – as a snorkeler or diver is just as likely to accidently brush agenst them as they blend in to there surroundings well.  They are non aggressive and if messed with then to swim away. But if you bush them your likely going to get pricked.  There veniom is quite painful and can be mild to Life Threatening.

  • What you should know about all types of Scorpion Fish:  Poisonous fish that live in Dauin Marine Sanctuary.
  • They all have erectile spines on their dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins.
  • Because these fish are not aggressive, contact with them and the poisonings that result are usually accidental.
  • Contact with the sharp venomous fin ray spines that are covered with mucus-containing poison on waspfish causes mild  to severe envenomation.
  • The Contact to the lion fish can be mild to life-threatening neurotoxin poisoning and is likened to cobra venom in toxicity.  ( Much of how toxic it is to you will depend on you and your reaction to it. Best to just avoid contact.

Poisons from these fish spines, in general, may produce the following symptoms, which may vary from person to person, and their intensity is related to the amount of toxin the person is exposed to.

  • Intense throbbing pain peaks in 1 to 2 hours and lasts 12 hours the pain may be so severe as to cause hallucinations.
  • Redness, bruising, swelling, numbness, tingling, blisters or vesicles, and tissue shedding at the wound site may occur.
  • Severe reactions include nausea, vomiting,  abdominal cramps, tremors, abnormal heart rhythms, weakness, slow heart rate, shortness of breath, seizures,  decreased blood pressure, fainting and paralysis. Death may occur

Poisoning Treatment

  • Remove the exposed person from the water to prevent drowning.
  • Immerse the wound for 30 to 90 minutes in water as hot as the poisoned person can tolerate (up to 140 F or 60 C) because the poisons are heat-sensitive. Repeat as necessary to control pain.
  • Local or regional anesthetics (blocks) may be useful in some patients for pain control
  • Use tweezers to remove any spines in the wound using caution to not squeeze venom glands that may have broken off in the wound with the spine. It is rare for a spine to break off in the wound. Use caution, wear gloves to avoid self-inoculation during spine removal.
  • Scrub the wound with soap and water. Then flush the affected area with fresh water.
  • Do not apply tape to close the wound as this may increase the risk of infection.
  • Patients may need a tetanus booster; this is usually recommended for all patients with this type of poisoning.

All cases of poisoning require medical attention to ensure no foreign material remains in the wound and to provide symptomatic care as needed

IMG_20160423_183632Blue Ringed Octopus

The blue-ringed octopuses  live in tide pools and coral reefs in Dauin Marine Sanctuary I have observed them or have only seen them to the right in the rocks just beyond the sanctuary boundaries but in super shallow water swimmers and fishers beware. They are one of the world's most venomous marine animals. These guys are small in size, 12 to 20 cm (5 to 8 in), and docile, when spotted they tend to swim away and do not really want to be fooled with, they are dangerous to humans if provoked and handled, because their venom contains tetrodotoxin, a neurotoxin powerful enough to kill humans.
You can recognize them by the blue and black rings, and yellowish skin although they do change colors to blend with their surroundings and when messed with they even turn a purple color. When the octopus is agitated, the brown patches darken dramatically, iridescent blue rings, or clumps of rings, appear and pulsate within the maculae. Typically, you can see the blue rings all over there body ….. I love to see these guys.

Blue-Ringed Octopus Bite First Aid Treatment

  • This bite is considered a medical emergency so do not wait for symptoms to develop; quickly get the person bitten out of the water and, if possible, call 911 and consider transport to the nearest hospital.
  • Use the pressure immobilizationtechnique:
    • Use an elastic bandage (similar to ACE bandage) to wrap the limb starting at the distal end (fingers or toes) and wrap toward the body. It should be tight, but the fingers and toes should remain pink so that the circulation is not cut off.
    • The extremity should also be immobilized with a splint or stick of some sort to prevent it from bending at the joint(s).
    • The elastic bandage should be removed for 90 seconds every 10 minutes and then reapplied for the first 4 to 6 hours. (Hopefully medical care can be received within this time period.)
    • If 30 minutes or more has passed since the blue-octopus bite, the pressure immobilization technique is not likely to be helpful.

The duration of life-threatening symptoms is usually from 4 to 10 hours. After that time, surviving patients typically show rapid signs of improvement.

  • If the patient is having difficulty breathing, assist with mouth-to-mouth ventilation.
  • Neostigmine (Prostigmin Bromide) and edrophonium (Enlon, Tensilon)  have shown benefit in some reports of tetrodotoxin intoxication (for example, puffer fish toxin similar to the blue ring octopus toxin), but have not undergone clinical trials in blue-ringed octopus envenomation's.
  • 4-Aminopyridine is another drug reported to reverse tetrodotoxin effects in experimental animals; however, it has been used in patients with MS.
  • There is no antivenin available for blue-ringed octopus bites.

When to Seek Medical Assistance

A victim of a blue-ringed octopus bite needs medical assistance as soon as possible.

  • Seek hospital treatment as quickly as possible.
  • The victim will often need intensive supportive care, usually involving endotracheal intubation (inserting a tube down the trachea) and mechanical ventilation.
  • Do not handle or carry a blue-ringed octopus
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Banded Sea Snake
Ah Yes, the Banded Sea Snake, although this snake or Kraits ranks in the most toxic venomous  and toxic bites in the world they seem to be non-aggressive that humans are rarely bitten, even in a situation where the animal feels threatened.  That being said …. Don’t mess with them!!!!  OBSEVE never interfere with them. These guys are found common in Dauin Marine Sanctuary. They are a sight to behold I observed one to be at least 4 meters long this would be a female as males tend to be much smaller. You will recognize them my there snake like appearance and they swim quite well, they have a flattened fin like end of their tail and their face looks flattened and head is rounded, you can see that they get there name by their banded white and black bands from head to tail.

There is no treatment for a bite by these guys as you will be DEAD in a matter of minutes. SO AGAIN DO NOT MESS WITH THEM …

IMG_20160418_085936Fireworms

Yes these guys are found in Dauin Marine Sanctuary, they should be treated with respect as persons who make contact suffer various degrees of discomfort to distress depending on the extent of contact and each person may have a different reaction, in most cases these guys are not life threatening .

They can be found mostly in dead corals and the person in most danger is the beach goer turning over stones and coral on close to shore (my experience with one was as I was diving and there he was in plain sight.

Signs and symptoms of contact can be an instant burning sensation that that becomes puffed white and swollen eventually turning red. All with continuous burning irritation and this can continue for some time. A person maybe become faint and show signs of cardiovascular distress with increased puls rate. Some have gotten chest pain.

If you come in contact seek medical attention ASAP.

IMG_20160321_085740Jelly Fish

Jelly fish like anywhere in the ocean can be found in Dauin Marine Sanctuary, In most cases the sting is nothing more than an irritation, but use caution in the sea as during April and May (although because of weather changes this may not apply and they are being found more and more often out of season) is Box Jelly Fish season and these guys are extremely dangerous and can cause death!  

What to do if you make contact with a jelly fish, and no PEEING on it is not the answer, all studies have shown it has little or no affect, Your best bet is first use sea water not fresh water to rinse the infected area using great  care not to infect yourself or more of the victims body, next find use a weak acid like vinegar it tends to neutralize the stinging cells that can drift around or stay on the skin .  Fresh water, Ammonia, and again DO NOT PEE on it urine will not help. 

Once you have cleansed the victim watch them closely and see medical attention because some victims may have a delayed reaction.
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IMG_20160320_080016Eels

Eels can commonly be found in Dauin Marine sanctuary, in most cases they will not attack a diver, swimmer or snorkeler but they are predators and can inflict damage. 
The most common eel I seem to see in the Sanctuary is the Garden Eel … these guys will have nothing to do with you and slip into their hiding place to avoid you as you swim near them they are harmless and nothing of a concern there are many different types of garden eels here in Dauin.

The next most observed eel I have observed is the White-Eyed Moray, these guys tend to be small and it is rare but time to time I see them swimming about, they are 65cm long and can be seen in groups or by themselves they tend to avoid human contact but sometimes I think that they are curious as to what I am doing popping their heads out and watching my every move.  (Eels in general are said to not have great vision and use their sense of smell to catch their prey)

The Crocodile snake eel is another common eel I tend to see although they are easy to miss and all your really get is a glimpse of their head they tend to no make a move and look like a rock but if threaten they pull themselves into the sand and hide I see them more on the sandy side of the Sanctuary
Lastly the Giant Green Moray Eel, this guy I have only seen a few but in Dauin is where I seen the biggest one I have ever observed so big it gave me bit of chills to witness. He was massive his head must have been as big as my head they tend to not be aggressive and stick to their hiding place and avoid contact… in all my diving the only time I have ever seen them aggressive is in the Caribbean where we were hunting Lion Fish and they wanted dinner so they would follow us divers in hopes to grab a snack. If a diver is attacked it is in most cases Mistaken Identity and they smell food so SPEAR FISHERS BEWARE!
If attacked by a Eel seek medical attention and apply basic first aid. They are not venomous at all but should not be messed with because they will defend themselves.

blue-spotted-stingraySting Rays       

I have seen few sting rays out and about but I have seen them mostly hiding under rocks, stingrays are non aggressive but you should use great care around them as there tail is a weapon of defense is venomous  and can cause injury … EXAMPLE Steve Irwin, freak accident but can show how deadly they can be.
Most common stingray I have seen in Dauin is the Blue Spotted Sting Ray.

IMG_20160423_184617Stone Fish

The Stone Fish ( A variation of Scorpion fish) is found in Dauin and it is the Most venomous fish in the world,  They can reach up to 30 to 40 cm and weigh about 2 kg, My experience with this fish up to this point has been has been in extremely shallow to deep water, they blend in and because of this can be extremely dangerous because you just cannot see them unstill it is far too late.  I feel that there should be more education about this fish because it is so common to see as I see them on about every dive.
Much like a Lion fish or Scorpion fish Having venomous sacs on each one of its 13 spines. the threat to responsible divers is minuscule, but to a swimmer waiting in the water they can be life threatening.
First off there are five types of stone fish and they mostly all can be found here in Dauin. Next As the most venomous fish in the sea, you would think they kill their prey using the venom in their spines, but they swim super fast snatching there prey up before they even knew what happened, this is why they can be deadly if provoked. There camouflage is almost perfect blending in if your not observant you will never even see them they blend so well and I have seen in many colors and match the reef perfectly.
If you see a stone fish they are not going to just out and out attack you but they will use there poison as a defense. The venom is released when pressure is applied to the spine much like other fish like Lion Fish or Waspish, I would say the most danger as I said before is to a swimmer stepping on them as they tend to no move if something comes there way they tend to stay right there and poke what ever goes to “Step” on them.

Interesting fact and why you will find them close to the shore, this fish can survive up to 24 hours out of the water.

Lastly if you are stung by a Stone Fish SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION ASAP as there is Antivenom and it will save your life!!!

USE CAUTION WHEN YOU ENCOUNTER SEA LIFE YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT DANGER AWATES

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