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White-stinging Sea Fern or Stinging Hydroid

Macrorhynchia philippina

These feathery white colonies with dark brown central stems may reach 450 mm high, and are common on inshore reefs in shallow water from 3-25 metres depth. While appearing deceptively delicate, they can inflict a powerful sting and handling should be avoided. A number of other types of Sea Ferns can also cause painful stings, and none of them should be touched.

They occur worldwide in tropical to warm-temperate seas, and are especially common on the Great Barrier Reef.

Queensland Museum's Find out about... is proudly supported by the Thyne Reid Foundation and the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.