Sent: Mar 21, 2005 4:15 PM
Subject: Re: NANFA-L-- Re: Freshwater stings
In a message dated 3/21/05 3:34:07 PM Eastern Standard Time,
> Where was the ditch? Could make a big difference.
> I'll assume near your home, SE NC?
> Were there grasses growing in the water, sticking out?
> A few grasses have very sharp, saw-like serrations on
> their edges. Leersia hexandra, which grows in your
> area, is GREAT for this. It gives a rash of long,
> thin, shallow abrasions that sting like all-get-out
> and leave long red welts. They will leave tiny linear
> scabs afterwards for a day or so. A day mucking about
> in this plant can really hurt.
> Alternatively, was your ditch very stagnant? In full
> sun, with areas of open water? It could be a rash
> from sponge spicules. Freshwater sponges create these
> little dormant packages called gemmules. These are
> loaded with spicules, which are spines made of silica.
> If there are a lot of sponges/gemmules in the water,
> the spicules can give a rash not unlike a fiberglass
> rash. Carolina bays are full of these things. (Leave
> it to me to work in a system that gives me a rash).
> It helps a lot to tape your pants to your boots, so
> the water must pass through the pants, which act as a
> filter. Not foolproof, but keeps a lot of the
> spicules (and any biting/stinging water insects) on
> the outside.
This sounds closer to what we experienced, the stings weren't as bad as
nettles or marine jellies but were more than just a rash as well. The ditch was
stagnant in full sun but I didn't notice any emergent plants. The dominant plant
was bladderwort in full bloom (pink ones!) the stinging sensation was bad
enough to make us want out of the water. It could have been a combination of very
acid water and spikes of some kind, I'm really not sure but I'm going back
soon to see if the very dark redfin pickerels are still there. I'll try to pay
closer attention to the plants and see if I can find a cause.
Michael Hissom (AKA Moon)
Lower Cape Fear River, Waccamaw Lake and river system, and coastal salt water
and brackish water estuaries in the same location. (South Eastern North
I have access to the only natural Ocean Shore Rock out cropping in Coastal NC
Dean A. Markley
3628 Peregrine Circle
Mountville, PA 17554
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