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Tropic news. Volume 10. Issue 8.

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Title:
Tropic news. Volume 10. Issue 8.
Series Title:
Tropic news
Creator:
United States Virgin Islands. Department of Planning and Natural Resources. Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Publisher:
United States Virgin Islands. Department of Planning and Natural Resources. Division of Fish and Wildlife.
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English

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Caribbean ( LCSH )
Newspapers -- Caribbean ( LCSH )
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serial ( sobekcm )
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North America -- United States Virgin Islands
Caribbean

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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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Copyright United States Virgin Islands. Department of Planning and Natural Resources. Division of Fish and Wildlife.. Permission granted to University of Florida to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.

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EWS

FISH AND WILDLIFE

Volume 10 Number 8


May 1998


A Divers Guide to
Things That Sting


This is the continuation of an article in the
previous issue.
Hydroids They may grow on line which has
been left in the water, such as mooring lines. Many
of these hydroids can cause painful stings which
may last for several days and require treatment by
a physician.
Portuguese Man-of-War This beautiful
siphonophore floats at the surface by means of a
large, inflated, violet-colored float. The float is
usually about 6 inches in length with dangerous
tentacles that may trail behind as much as 60 feet.
The animals are often seen washed up on the
shore, and may appear dead. Whether they seem
dead or alive, they should not be handled, as con-
tact with a Portuguese Man-of-War can cause pain
great enough to send a person into shock. If se-
verely stung, seek immediate medical attention.
Sea Wasps Several species of sea wasps occur
in the Caribbean. They are free-floating and have a
four-sided bell shape, with tentacles that trail
behind. Sea wasps are generally encountered on
the surface at night, and may collect near lights on
docks. Sea wasps have been known on very rare
occasions to produce a fatal sting. If stung by a sea
wasp seek medical assistance immediately, as
difficulty in breathing could develop. Tentacles
may be scraped off the skin with a knife blade.

SPONGES
Sponges are living animals of the Phylum
Porifera. The animals attach to hard objects on the
bottom and feed by pumping water through small
pores, filtering plankton. Several sponges found in
the Virgin Islands can produce stings.
Do-Not-Touch-Me Sponge This brown sponge is
usually found at the base of elkhorn or staghorn
corals. This species is highly toxic; if handled with
bare hands, it may cause severe burning and blis-
tering.
Fire Sponge This species is bright red to or-
ange, with a smooth outer surface, and is com-
monly found in bays or lagoons. This sponge is
highly toxic to most people, and can produce pain-
ful burns and rashes similar to a bad case of poison
ivy.


---.-- Il II l ___


WORMS
A word of warning if you see what appears to
be a fuzzy worm underwater...don't touch it!
Chances are, it is a type of bristle worm. These
worms appear harmless, but their bristles contain
a toxin which can cause a painful, long lasting
sting. The bristles are shed easily, so avoid coming
into contact with them.
Green Bristle Worm This large greenish worm
is commonly found under stones or in grass beds,
and also on the reef. It can reach lengths of up to
10 inches.
Orange Bristle Worm This worm is similar to
the green bristle worm, but is somewhat smaller
and more slender. Its body is orange to yellow in
color, with white bristles along the side. This
species is usually found on the reef flat and along
rocky areas.
Red-Tipped Bristle Worm The red-tipped worm
reaches a length of only about 4-5 inches, but has a
2 inch wide band of bristles along either side. Its
bristles are white, with orange or red tips. This
worm is usually found in deeper water than the
others, on open sand and mud bottoms.

SEA URCHINS
Long-spined Sea Urchin This tropical reef-
dwelling urchin is well known to most divers and
snorkelers. The body or test of the urchin is usually
about 4 inches in diameter, with long, sharp spines
that can be up to 16 inches long. The sea urchin is
usually tucked into crevices along the reef. These
animals do not have nematocysts, and are not
capable of aggressively attacking swimmers or
divers. However, their spines do contain a toxin
which can be painful if the spine is broken off in a
person's skin. The spines are difficult to remove
from the skin, and are best left in place, as they
will dissolve in time. Vinegar can also be used to
dissolve them.
Article to be continued next issue. Article writ-
ten by Cathy C. Lawlor former DFW employee.

Quote
"If only we could overcome cruelty with com-
passion we should be well on the way to creating a
new and boundless ethic -- one that would respect
all living things."
T- -To.-n 11-4-11








Domestic Cats Pose Threat to
Millions of Birds Each Year

Free-ranging domestic cats destroy millions of
birds each year in Wisconsin. This situation is
probably true throughout the world. Many of these
tabbies kill for fun rather than for food. Unlike
wild predators, domestic cats hunt whether they
are hungry or not. Cats can be described as "subsi-
dized predators" because they receive a steady
supply of food at home. "Pet cats can hunt longer
and are less susceptible to disease than many wild
predators," states Professor Stan Temple of the
University of Wisconsin (UW).
The problem is so severe that in 1997 the
American Bird Conservancy (ABC) began a na-
tional campaign to educate cat owners about the
threat to birds from cat predation. The new cam-
paign is called, "Cats Indoor!"
The cuddly kitty that provides companionship
indoors transforms into a ferocious feline hunter
when it gets outside. UW studies show that the
diet of free-ranging domestic cats is composed of
70 percent small mammals (predominantly mice
and ground squirrels), 20 percent birds, and 10
percent other animals.
In addition to killing birds, free-ranging domes-
tic cats also rob food from native predators such as
foxes, snakes, and raccoons. In some study areas
of-Wisconsin, cat densities reach more than 100
animals per square mile several times more than
all similar-sized wild predators (skunks, foxes and
raccoons) combined.
Wildlife officials believe the only way to
reduce the damage to birds by free-ranging cats is
for cat owners to keep their pets indoors. Many
municipalities currently have ordinances that


require cats to be kept indoors or on a leash.
However, these measures are rarely enforced,
causing some bird fans to take matters into their
own hands.

How Responsible Cat Owners Can
Help Conserve Birds

*Keep only as many pet cats as you can
feed and care for.

Keep your cat indoors for the sake of
your cat and the local wildlife.

*Bells are generally ineffective in prevent-
ing predation because even if the bell rings,
it's usually too late for the prey being stalked.

Locate bird feeders in sites that do not
provide cover for cats to wait in ambush for
birds. Cats are significant cause of mortality
among birds that come to feeders. Put animal
guards around any trees in your yard that
may have nesting birds.

Don't dispose of unwanted cats by release.
ing them in rural areas. Contact your local
animal welfare organization for help.

Article excerpted from "Fish and Wildlife Today'
Winter 1998 issue.

\. S1& This newsletter was funded by the US
fl- t' Fish and Wildlife Service, Sport Fish and
SWildlife Restoration Acts, the Caribbean
o Fishery Management Council and the
S Government of the VI.
Donna M. Griffin Editor
Ralf H. Boulon Jr. Chief of Environmental Education


GOVERNMENT OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
OF THE UNITED STATES
******
Department of Planning and Natural Resources
Division of Fish and Wildlife
6291 Estate Nazareth 101
St. Thomas, USVI 00802-1104
(809)775-6762 (ST.T.), (809)772-1955 (ST.X.)


BULK RATE
U.S. POSTAGE PAID
CHARLOTTE AMALIE, V.
PERMIT NO. 35


Address Correction Requested


Trees were saved by printing on recycled paper


----- --




Full Text

PAGE 1

May 1998 Volume 10 Number 8 A Divers Guide to Things That Sting This is the continuation of an article in the previous issue. Hydroids .; They may grow online which has been left in the water, such as mooring lihes. Many of these hydroids can cause painful stings which may last for several days and require treatment by a physician. Portuguese Man-of-War This beautiful siphonophore floats at the surface by means of a large, inflated, violet-colored float. The float is usually about 6 inches in length with dangerous tentacles that may trail behind as much as 60 feet. The animals are often seen washed up on the shore, and may appear dead. Whether they seem dead or alive, they should not be handled, as contact with a Portuguese Man-of-War can cause pain great enough to send a person into shock. If severely stung, seek immediate medical attention. Sea Wasps Several species of sea wasps occur: in the Caribbean. They are free-floating and have a four-sided bell shape, with tentacles that trail behind. Sea wasps are generally encountered on the surface at night, and may collect near lights on docks. Sea wasps have been known on very rare o.ccasions to produce a fatal sting. If stung by a sea wasp seek medical assistance immediately, as difficulty in breathing could develop. Tentacles may be scraped off the skin with a knife blade. WORMS A word of warningif you see what appears to be a fuzzy worm underwater...don't touch it! Chances are, it is a type of bristle worm. These worms appear harmless, but their bristles contain a toxin which can cause a painful, long lasting sting. The bristles are shed easily, so avoid coming into contact with them. Green Bristle Worm This large greenish worm is commonly found under stones or in grass beds, and also on the reef. It can reach lengths of up to 10 inches. Orange Bristle Worm This worm is similar to the green bristle worm, but is somewhat smaller and more slender. Its body is orange to yellow in color, with white bristles along the side. This species is usually found on the reef flat and along rocky areas. Red-Tipped Bristle Worm The red-tipped worm reaches a length of only about 4-5 inches, but has a 2 inch wide band of bristles along either side. Its bristles are white, with orange or red tips. This worm is usually found in deeper water than th~ others, on open sand and mud bottoms. SEA URCHINS Long-spined Sea Urchin This tropical reefdwelling urchih is well known to most divers and snorkelers. The body or test of the urchin is usually about 4 inches in diame~er., with long, sharp spines that can be up to 16 inches long. The sea urchin is usually tucked into crevices along the reef. These animals do not have nematocysts, and are not capable of aggressiv~ly attacking swimmers or divers. However, their spines do contain a toxin which can be painful if the spine is broken off in a p~rson's skin. The spines are difficult to remove from the skin, and are best left in place, as they will dissolve in time. Vinegar can also be used to dissolve them. Article to be continued next issue. Article written by Cathy C. Lawlor former DFW employee. . . SPONGES Sponges are living animals of the Phylum Porifera. The animals attach to hard objects on the bottom and feed by pumping water through small pores, filtering plankton. Several sponges found in the Virgin Islands can produce stings. Do-Not-Touch-Me Sponge This brown sponge is usually found at the base of elkhorn or staghorn corals. This species is highly toxic; if handled with bare hands, it may cause severe burning and blistering. Fire Sponge This species is bright red to orange, with a smooth outer surface, and is commonly found in bays or lagoons. This sponge is highly toxic to most people, and can produce painfulburns and rashes similar to a bad case of poison IVY. Quote " If only we could overcome cruelty with Compassion we should be well on the way to creating a new and boundless ethic ee one that would respect all living things." n.. T",..",f!~~,J~ll

PAGE 2

require cats to be kept indoors or on a leash. However; these measures are rarely enforced, causing some bird fans to take matters into their own hands. Domestic Cats Pose Threat to Millions of Birds Each Year How Responsible Cat Owners: Can Help Conserve Birds . Keep only as many pet cats as you can feed and care for. . Keep your cat indoors for the sake of your cat and the local wildlife. . Bells are generally ineffective in preventing predation because even if the bell rings, it's usually too late for the prey being stalked~ -Locate bird feeders in sites that do not provide cover for cats to wait in ambush for birds. Cats are significant caus.e of mortality among birds that come to feeders. Put animal guards around any trees in your yard that may have nesting birds. . Don't dispose of unwanted cats byreleas. ing them in rural areas. Contact your local animal welfare organization for help. Article excerpted from "Fish and Wildlife Today Winter 1998 issue. Free-ranging domestic cats destroy millions of birds each year in Wisconsin. This situation is probably true throughout the world. Many of these tabbies kill for fun rather than for food. Unlike wild predators, domestic cats hunt whether they are hungry or not. Cats can be described as "subsidized predators" because they receive a steady supply of food at home. "Pet cats can hunt longer and are less susceptible to disease than many wild predators," states Professor Stan Temple of the University of Wisconsin (UW). The problem is so severe'that in 1997 the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) began a national campaign to educate cat owners about the threat to birds from cat predation. The new campaign is called, "Cats Indoor!" The cuddly kitty that provides companionship indoors transforms into a ferocious feline hunter when it gets outside. UW studies show that the diet of free-ranging domestic cats is composed of 70 percent small mammals (predominantly mice and ground squirrels), 20 percent birds, and 10 percent other animals. In addition to killing birds, free-ranging domestic cats also rob food from native predators such as foxes, snakes, and raccoons. In some study areas of. Wisconsin, cat densities reach more than 100' animals per square mile several times more than all similar-sized wild predators (skunks, foxes and raccoons) combined. Wildlife officials believe the only way to reduce the damage to birds by free-ranging cats is for cat owners to keep their pets indoors. Many municipalities currently have ordinances that <.\Sfl & ~ This newsletter was funded by the US p ~~ Fish and Wildlife Service, Sport Fish ~d g~:~~m ~ildlife Restoration Acts, th~ Caribbean ~J!'( o~ FIshery Management CouncIl and the -{OR"'t~ Government of the VI. Donna M. Griffin Editor Ralf H. Boulon Jr. Chief of Environmental Education BULK RATE u.s. PQSTAGEPAID CHARLOTTE AMALIE, V. PERMIT NO. 35 GOVERNMENT OF THE VIR:GIN ISLANDS OF THE UNITED STATES ****** Department of Planning and Natural Resources Division of Fish and Wildlife 6291 Estate Nazareth 101 St. Thomas, USVI 00802-1104 (809)775-6762 (ST.TJ, (809)772-1955 CST.X.) Address Correction Requested Trees were saved by printing on recycled paper