Marine animal stings or bites


Marine animal stings or bites refer to poisonous bites or stings from any form of sea life, including jellyfish.

Alternative Names

Stings - marine animals; Bites - marine animals


The majority of these types of stings occur in salt water. Some types of marine stings or bites can be deadly.


Causes include bites or stings from various types of marine life including: jellyfish, Portuguese Man-of-War, stingray, stonefish, scorpion fish, catfish, sea urchins, sea anemone, hydroid, coral, cone shell, sharks, barracudas, and moray or electric eels.


There may be pain, burning, swelling, redness, or bleeding near the area of the bite or sting. Other symptoms can affect the entire body, and may include:

First Aid


When to Contact a Medical Professional

Seek medical help (call 911 or your local emergency number) if the person has difficulty breathing, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, or uncontrolled bleeding, if the sting site develops swelling or discoloration, or for other body-wide (generalized) symptoms.



Otten EJ. Venomous animal injuries. In: Marx JA, ed. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 59.

Review Date: 1/8/2012
Reviewed By: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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