JellyFish Facts

Can Dead Jellyfish Sting?

Can Dead Jellyfish Sting? picture

Can Dead Jellyfish Sting?

There are approximately two thousand species of jellyfish worldwide but only less than 100 are thought to be dangerous and cause a threat to human and animal life. Jellyfish are more of invertebrates than fish but they lack the organs that one would associate them with higher forms of life.

Jellyfish feed mainly on zooplankton, which they do by capturing them using their poisonous tentacles that can be up to 7ft long. Jellyfish move around the waters through self propulsion, wind and tide, in both warm and cool waters.

Since an average jellyfish lacks brain, it means that it cannot help sting you but the Box Jelly (Chironex Fleckeri) is able to control who and how it stings because it has multiple eyes and brains. Typically, once a jellyfish's stinging cell comes in contact with your skin, or are stimulated, they'll build up a lot of pressure on the nematocysts before firing the toxin in you through their tiny harpoons.

Note that some Jellyfish have weak venom while others have very strong venom whereby upon sufficient exposure, it can lead to death of a human being. The answer as to whether a dead jellyfish can sting or not is yes. After a storm has washed up dead jellies to the shore, the tentacles are still very active and may remain so for a long while hence are still capable of inflicting stings.

If you plan to explore the ocean after a storm, your best bet would be to avoid jellyfish tentacles as much as you can. Note that even detached tentacles from the jellyfish itself can still sting and cause you pain, irritation, allergic reaction etc. It's important to understand that the nematocysts (stinging structures found in the tentacles) can remain very active long after the jellyfish is dead, as long as two weeks. The potency of the sting will however vary and be determined by how strong or weak it was when the jelly was still alive.

Be very careful with the jellies because as much as they are beautiful, they can bring your life to an abrupt end, or you may develop some otherwise avoidable conditions. Once stung by a dead jellyfish, you should follow the same first aid procedure as you would when stung by a live one. Rub off the tentacles using some piece of cloth on your hand, or dust it off with some baking powder before you seek further medical attention.

Read more about Jellyfish Stings and Jellyfish Safety

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

Written by and Sudarsana Sinha.

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