This report is the first in the literature of a case of dermatitis caused by a stinging coral animal.
The majority of corals belong to the class of flower animals, or Anthozoa, and this article is confined to a dermatitis contracted from one of these animals. A coral polyp, or sea anemone, is a cylindric animal of lowly organization, with a mouth surrounded by tentacles at the top of the cylinder and with but one main cavity (the coelenteron) inside. It has stinging cells on its tentacles with which it can paralyze its prey.
Dana1 described the properties of the Actinia genus of polyps, which have what Agassiz called lasso or nettling cells. These tubular cells escape from the chief cell by turning themselves inside out, the harpoonlike extremity showing itself last with lightning-like rapidity. The lasso cells are usually less than 1/200 inch (0.13 mm.) in length and
LEVIN OL, BEHRMAN HT. CORAL DERMATITIS. Arch Derm Syphilol. 1941;44(4):600–603. doi:10.1001/archderm.1941.01500040055005
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