Marine Wildlife 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.