JellyFish Facts

Box Jellyfish

Box Jellyfish picture

Box Jellyfish

Box jellyfish are marine invertebrates belonging to the phylum Cnidaria. Unlike most jellyfish that belong to the to the class Scyphozoa, box jellyfish belong to the class Cobozoa, so-called because of their characteristic cube-like shape. They are also considered far more complex than their Scyphozoan counterparts. The sea wasp or Chironex fleckeri, is one of the nineteen species that belong to this class.

Sea wasps are best known as the most deadliest creatures in the world, whether on land or in water. Creatures are rated for their deadliness by taking into account two factors:

1. How many people an ounce of the creature's venom can kill
2. How long it takes you to die from the venom after being bitten, stung, or stuck

In both respect, the deadliness of the sea wasp far outpaces those of any other creature known to man. An ounce of sea wasp venom can kill as many as 60 adult humans and it can cause human death in less than 3 minutes. This means that if you have been stung by the jellyfish while you were swimming, surfing or diving a little further away from the coastline, you may not even be able to reach to the shoreline in time to get medical attention. Only one instance of survival after a sting from the box jellyfish has been recorded and that was Ian McCormick, a New Zealander who survived not one but five stings by the box jellyfish on his arm. However, he has attributed this miracle to divine intervention and seems to be no other scientific explanation for it.

Box Jellyfish are normally found in waters surrounding Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and Philippines. In Australia, the box jellyfish season usually lasts from October to April every year. In Hawaii, however, there does not seem to be any indication of a box jellyfish season and they are usually sighted throughout the year, usually 8 to 10 days after the full moon night. Box jellyfish are mostly found in shallow waters and prefer being near the intersection of the ocean and rivers, if there are any.

In the recent past, there has been an explosion in the population of jellyfish in Australian waters. The main causes are attributed to climate change and drastic reduction of jellyfish predators due to over fishing. Whatever the cause, the number of deaths caused by the sting of the box jellyfish has also risen dramatically and has become a serious cause for alarm.

While it is difficult to save the life of a person heavily stung by a box jellyfish, there are measures to prevent getting stung by the box jellyfish. The best method is, of course, precaution and prevention. If you are aware of any box jellyfish sightings in the water, it is best not to venture into it at all. Additionally, there are special wet suits available that can prevent the wearer from getting stung by box jellyfish specifically. Nylon pantyhose is also know to be an effective method of preventing a box jellyfish sting.

Learn more about Jellyfish, different Jellyfish Species, general Jellyfish Information, Jellyfish Pets and Jellyfish Safety

Written by and Sudarsana Sinha.

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