Of the oceans, in the coastal zone, among rocks, in quiet lagoons of coral atolls and swampy thickets of mangroves found many poisonous fish, reptiles, jellyfish, clams, representing more or less dangerous to humans. Meeting with them is often unexpected, and the consequences severe.
It happened on the fifth day of the experiment in the ocean. At 12 o'clock in the boat life becomes unbearable. The only escape from the burning rays of the sun was water. True, the swimming was out of the dream, because together with the boat circling sharks, but scooping up handfuls of water, and then we arrange a little refreshing shower. Herman Lebedev, leaning over the side, scored in the palm of the water, but then withdrew his hand and leaned back in the jar. On his forearm broke purple spot in the center of which poured small bubbles, as if from a sting.
— Oh, — he muttered, rubbing his hands in fright.
We rushed to the side. On the blue surface of the water gently rocking purple and pink balloons, like soap bubbles. These were Physalia — jellyfish Sipho-luminophors (siphonophores — a special group of coelenterates animals floating leading lifestyle consisting of fused in a single colony of polyps).
Meanwhile, Germany is becoming worse. Redness and swelling crept up, went over to the shoulder. Pain gripped pecs. It became difficult to breathe. Pulse quickened, became intermittent. He moaned, groaned, frantically gulping air. Here it is, we have begun to worry in earnest. In the course was put entire arsenal of antihistamines, pain relievers, heart. Rinse thoroughly with a hand, sparing no fresh water, treated with alcohol. The pain began to subside, and after half an hour but disappeared. Only bright red still remind us of the adventure.
Physalia (Physalia aretusa), have given us so much trouble — a wonderful creation, called her by the name of Dr. Marie Fizaliks, who opened it and described. It is a colony of polyps, performing different. Afloat support its oval bladder — pneumatophores to 20 — 30 cm long and 8-10 cm wide, filled with a gas mixture consisting of 12 — 15% oxygen, 1.18% argon and nitrogen.
Bubble — a complex hydrostatic unit varies depending on the conditions of its share. Worth the effort excitement as wall-combs immediately reduced, the excess gas is squeezed out, and Physalia, like a submarine, is to dive. As soon as a lull, special glandular cells fill the empty gas tank, and siphonophores rises again, flashing in the sun with blue, violet and purple colors. The bright colors and was the reason for the call Physalia (Portuguese sailors, usually brightly painted their caravels) …
Interestingly, the shape of the bubble at Physalia living in the northern and southern hemispheres are different, and they will never meet on. This feature helps siphonophores resist the force of Earth's rotation, the Coriolis force, and provides siphonophores move left and — right, showing another example of natural selection.
Tubular soft blue polyp is responsible for digestion Physalia, another polyp is responsible breeding, and long, reaching 30 m tentacles arkanchiki studded with bubbles stinging nematocysts cells, provide food and protect the colony from the enemy. Each bottle is filled with a liquid containing toxic substances. Nematocysts inside coiled serrated stinging filament, and should touch the tentacles, like a thread, straightened, pierces the body of the victim with a poisoned arrow.
Physalia venom reminiscent of their nerve poison cobra. Introduction of even a small dose of venom into the skin of laboratory animals — guinea pigs, dogs, pigeons — turned out for them fatal. He is extremely resistant to desiccation and freezing, and the tentacles siphonophores that had lain for six years in the fridge, perfectly preserved their toxic properties. However, not all the sea animals as sensitive to the venom of Physalia. Thus, the fish nomeus (Nomeus gronovi), without fear darting between menacing tentacles carries no consequences injection portions of poison, one tenth of which would be enough to kill a large fish. A predatory mollusc glyaukus (Glaucus), similar to the blue branch bizarre plants, eats Physalia, unafraid of its venom.
But for a man poison siphonophores extremely dangerous. There are cases of death after major burns caused by its stinging apparatus.
, it was a terrible devastating volley stinging cells of Physalia. After a few minutes of hands were paralyzed. Pinching pain spread to the lymph nodes under the arm. The skin on her hands turned blue, swollen and shining. At the same time they experienced severe pains in the stomach, asthma, seizures. Within an hour, they were repeated twice. The pain began to subside after two hours, and then the phenomenon disappeared>.
In the coastal waters of British Columbia and the Philippines, off the coast of Japan and Sakhalin meets other poisonous hydroid jellyfish — gonionema (Gonionemus vertens Agassiz). Through the transparent fabric of her small, only 17 — 40 mm in diameter, the bells, the edges of which hangs a 60 — 80 tentacles, there are four brown-red radial channel, forming a cross. For this kind of drawing residents of Primorye and Sakhalin, and called her.
Gonionema avoids the high seas, preferring dense thickets of sea grass Zostera.
First picture of poisoning has been described in detail in the 20s Dr. A.E.Bari. Usually touch the jellyfish tentacles causes a sharp pain that resembles the pain of the burn. Skin is red and covered with small white bubbles.
Phenomenon of general intoxication occur immediately after strekaniya or after 15 — 20 minutes. There is a sensation of breathlessness (especially difficult exhalation), pain in the joints of the limbs. Numb fingers. The victims complained of shortness of breath, tightness in the chest. Acute period lasts 4 — 5 days, and then the phenomenon are declining and disappearing without any consequences.
But the most dangerous to humans is crystal clear, and therefore invisible in water, a small jellyfish (its diameter bell not more than 45 mm) — the sea wasp (Hiro-nex Fleckeri). Its poison so toxic that, weakened by 10 000 times, kills guinea pig in ten seconds after injection (Note: the sea wasp, 1968). Man, stung sea wasp, often die within a few minutes from respiratory paralysis.
In the late 60's R.Dzhordzh Australian scientist who has studied the dangerous sea animals tropical seas, has published some interesting data on causes of death in Australian waters. It turned out that the sea wasp has to his credit a lot more victims than the most predatory of sharks. Only in 1944 off the coast of Australia, there were one hundred deaths, the culprit which was sea wasp. No less toxic poison kubomeduzy — hiropsalmus (Chiropsalmus quadrigatus Haeckel), found in the waters of the South Seas.
Jellyfish venom is very complex in nature and multidirectional for action. It includes: tetramine, paralyzing nerve endings talassin hitting the bloodstream; kongestin having anaphylactic effect, increases the body's sensitivity to the other components of the poison and affects the respiratory center, and finally gipnotoksin acting on the central nervous system, causing numbness and drowsiness.
Less dangerous, though quite painful, are burns caused by sea anemones and corals, which contains poison tetramine. — Describes a burn coral Charles Darwin.
Especially painful burns caused by burning coral (Millepora alcicornis Linneus) — false coral occurring in coral thickets of the Red Sea and the Caribbean, the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Often, after the formation of the skin does not heal ulcers.