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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Stinging Hydroid Aglaophenia cupressina

While most hydroids are harmless to touch, the stinging hydroid has a powerful sting. The colonies look like clumps of feathers or ferns dotted around among the corals on a reef. Individual polyps are arranged along one side of the smallest branches and extend their stinging tentacles to catch small planktonic animals. The sting is not usually dangerous to humans, but it results in an itchy rash that can irritate for up to a week.

Stinging Hydroidzoom image
  • Class Hydrozoa
  • Height Up to 16 in (40 cm)
  • Depth 10–100 ft (3–30 m)
  • Habitat Coral reefs
  • Distribution Tropical reefs in Indian Ocean and southwestern Pacific
Stinging Hydroid habitat mapzoom image