[Coral-List] Toxic coral and a dog
cdh5 at cornell.edu
Mon Jan 30 19:43:40 EST 2006
Dear Annie and Caroline: It is Biareum asbestinum, as Julian
identified. We worked on the chemistry with Bill Fenical for many
years, and it is not surprising that it is toxic enough to kill a
dog. Its more surprising that the dog ate enough of what must have
tasted very horrible to get a lethal dose. This species has high
levels of chlorinated diterpenes, in addition to unidentified small
proteins that might be in it. This species also has compounds in it
that can trigger contact dermatitus and even respiratory issues for
people who work with chemical extracts and dried samples of it
Below are some of our papers with briareum; the most recent of these
are available on my website.
Harvell, C. D., W. Fenical, V. Roussis, J. L. Ruesink, C. C. Griggs,
C. H. Greene. 1993. Local and geographic variation in the defensive
chemistry of a West Indian gorgonian coral (Briareum asbestinum).
Marine Ecology Progress Series 93:165-173.
Harvell C. D., J. West, and C. C. Griggs. 1997. Chemical defense of
embryos and larvae of a West Indian gorgonian coral, Briareum
asbestinum. Invertebrate Reproduction and Development 30:239-246.
Jensen, P. R., C. D. Harvell, K. Wirtz, and W. Fenical. 1996. The
incidence of anti-microbial activity among Caribbean gorgonians.
Marine Biology 125:411-420.
Kim, K., P. D. Kim, A. P. Alker and C. D. Harvell. 2000. Antifungal
properties of gorgonian corals. Marine Biology 137: 393-401
>Hi Coral listers,
>Can anyone help determine the species of coral and whether it is
>toxic please? There is a link to the photo here:
>Annie J. Yau
>Bren School of Environmental Science and Management University of
>California, Santa Barbara CA 93106-5131
>Office: Bren Hall 1306, (805) 893-5054
>Email: ayau at bren.ucsb.edu
>From: Caroline Donaldson [mailto:cwd at apcc.aspca.org]
>This is a picture of a coral a dog ate that developed progressive
>neurologic signs about 2 hours after the ingestion. the dog was
>ultimately euthanized because the he was not breathing on his own
>and the owners could not afford emergency care. I found some
>literature about corals that can have neurotoxins specifically
>lophotoxins, I was wondering if it is possible that this could be
>one of those corals.
>This particular coral was found on the beach in Jamaica and
>apparently is a leather consistency. Any ideas about what it might
>be would be helpful and if it is possible it could be a species that
>could be toxic as well as any information about coral toxins that
>you may have would be useful. Please feel free to forward the
>picture on if you know someone who might also be of assistance.
>Caroline W. Donaldson, DVM
>ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center
>An Allied Agency of the University of Illinois
>Coral-List mailing list
>Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
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