This morning I was stung by a Pelagia noctiluca, a small luminous jellyfish. I was snorkeling out beyond the bay where I usually go, and had spotted plenty of jellies in the water. I was being careful, but I guess the current carried this one into my outstretched arm.
It hurt like a big, bad bee sting (heh). I thrashed around a bit, swiping at my arm and generally looking like shark bait. A section of my arm went numb for a few moments. Then it just throbbed as I made the long swim back to shore.
Yes, I could have, uh, peed on it when I got back to shore, but I opted to just drive home and apply a more acidic fluid: vinegar. It had a nearly immediate effect. After a cold compress and about six hours, I can barely feel the sting.
Other Photos of Stings
I got to thinking about what else can sting me, both under the waves and on top of them. That led to a long, gross search for photos of stings in Flickr that looked way, way worse than my lame discolouration. I thought I’d assemble them here for your edification. They’re after the jump, because some are fairly disgusting, and I don’t want to be responsible for anybody losing their lunch on their keyboard. In most cases, you can click for even more close-up grossness.
Bee sting – This was the most offensive example of a bee sting I could find:
Wasp sting – One of these fingers is not like the others.
Hornet sting – A bigger, badder wasp, as I understand it.
Jellyfish Stings – The Web is full of disgusting photos of jellyfish stings that look insanely painful. Here are a couple:
Sea urchin – Hard to tell where the urchin stings and the coral damage begins.
Stingray – Considering one of these killed Steve Irwin, this looks pretty innocuous.
Bristle worm – I’ve seen a couple of these while snorkeling. They look innocent enough, crawling along the reef. Photo borrowed from Salt-City.Org.
Stinging nettle – That’s a nasty reaction.
Poison ivy – It’s interesting, I think, that the grossest injury comes from a common, unsuspecting plant. Ew.
What Have I Missed?
I wanted to find a photo of a stonefish sting, but came up empty. Maybe that’s because the results of a sting are so traumatic that nobody ever stops to take a photo. What other stinging things have I missed?