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Dive Medicine: Sea Urchin Puncture Wound

Facts on Sea Urchin Stings

  • Sea urchins have globe- to flattened-shaped bodies covered with spines.
  • They are non-aggressive marine animals found all over the world.
  • They live in shallow, rocky bottoms, or hide in sandy cervices.
  • Human contact with sea urchins is either accidental or intentional. People accidentally step on them in shallow surf, or intentionally pick up the urchins, unaware that they must handle the spines with care to avoid injury.
  • Sea urchins have two types of venomous organs - spines and pedicellaria.
    • Spines produce puncture wounds.
    • Pedicellaria are small, delicate seizing organs that lie between the spines and release venom when they attach to an object.

What Are the Symptoms of a Sea Urchin Sting?

  • A puncture injury from a sea urchin can cause swelling and redness around the area, which may lead to severe pain and infection.
  • Multiple deep puncture wounds may cause fatigue, weakness, muscle aches, shock, paralysis, and respiratory failure. Death may occur.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/28/2016

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Echinoderm Envenomation »

The phylum Echinodermata includes a diverse group of marine animals that are slow moving and nonaggressive, including brittle stars (class Ophiuroidea), starfish (class Asteroidea), sea urchins (class Echinoidea), and sea cucumbers (class Holothuroidea).

Read More on Medscape Reference »

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