Alternative Title

Mid-Atlantic marine animals that demand your respect


Design by Kym Young; Illustrations by Dick Cook.

Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

VIMS Department/Program

Marine Advisory Services (MAS)

Publication Date



Educational series no. 26.


Generally speaking, the marine organisms found along middle Atlantic shores are not considered threatening to people. However, some of these animals can cause problems, either upon simple contact with the skin, as in the case of some jellyfish, or through careless handling. Larger inhabitants of coastal waters, such as stingrays and sharks, must always be treated with great respect because of the danger potential and their unpredictable nature. The following description of nuisance and potentially harmful organisms is presented to help coastal residents and visitors become more aware of how problems with such marine animals might develop, how they can be avoided and how certain injuries should best be treated if they occur.

All mid-Atlantic coastal animals that can cause problems for the uninitiated beachgoer or angler are not discussed herein. Common sense and caution must be exercised upon encountering any unfamiliar animal. A quick check with local residents, lifeguards or marina operators before heading out on the water or beach will often prevent problems later. Knowledge prevents surprise and makes for more enjoyable outings. Play it smart, be observant and enjoy the fullest recreational potential of our coastal waters.



Marine animals -- Middle Atlantic States; Poisonous animals -- Middle Atlantic States; Aquatic animals;

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.