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Fire Coral Facts and Pictures

Taxonomy [Phylum: Cnidaria] [Class: Hydrozoa] [Family: Milleporidae] [Order: Capitata]

Snorkelers are always discouraged from touching the reef - especially branching fire coral. But, you should recognize and avoid the fifty identified species of venomous fire coral. That could save you a painful sting, cut, or allergic reaction.

In fact, that could be a little more difficult than it sounds. The toxic marine organisms are not 'technically' a coral. But, you will find the small brush-like growths in tropical and subtropical seas.

Calcareous species of fire corals belong with Hydra, some hydrozoan anemones, and jellyfish. This is why these venomous coelenterates, and their fire coral sting, cause fire coral rash and skin irritation.

Most fire corals exhibit a similar colonial existence as its namesake. But, try to avoid accidental contact with this fiery aquatic life when scuba diving or snorkel swimming.

What is Fire Coral Millepora?

In fact, the fire coral scientific name is Millepora. You are most likely to find these fire corals concealed on shallow reef formations. Thus, they tend to thrive in the Caribbean Sea, the Pacific, Indian, and the Atlantic Oceans.

Fire corals are non-mobile and 'predominantly' form forking outcrops. They live on reef projections in areas with strong tidal currents. Millepora are most abundant on the upper slopes of lagoons.

Recognizing Branching Fire Coral

Knowing how to distinguish fire coral is a tad tricky for the untrained eye. It 'cunningly' disguises itself in shapes and colours like the regular branching species.

Its skeletal encrusted form may even appear bladed, plated, or boxy. But in actuality, there is an easy way to identify almost all fire coral species. It is brownish-green or orange color and has 'attention-getting' white tips.

Another distinguishing factor is its transparent stingers. They are usually visible and tend to stick out like hair-like cactus spines. This is where the fire coral's painful sting comes from. Brushing against the spines with uncovered skin is how most stings occur. This happens most to divers without wetsuits, and bare-skinned swimmers or snorkelers.

Stinging Fire Coral Facts

Fire Coral Pictures [Calcareous hydrozoans]In fact, injuries from fire corals are commonly identified as cuts, skin rashes, or red welts.

Fire coral rash is intensely painful. But, the stings do not usually start to burn immediately after contact.

Often, it takes five to thirty minutes after being stung to feel pain. The agony may last between two to fourteen days afterwards.

Much like jellyfish, fire coral injuries get done by tiny nematocysts. They protrude from numerous surface pores and tentacles.

The calcified external skeleton is also sharp enough to cause minor lacerations. Thus, it is not uncommon to get scrapes on unprotected skin.

Fire Coral Sting Rash Treatment

You should now understand more on the facts about fire coral. But, the best antidote is to seek medical advice if you get injured. The standard coral rash treatment involves several steps. Try to treat a fire coral burn immediately after as well as during the actual healing process.

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