JellyFish Facts

Dangerous Jellyfish

Dangerous Jellyfish picture

Dangerous Jellyfish

All the marine water in the world is inhabited by jellyfish. There are almost 2000 known species of jellyfish in oceans across the world. Although, jellyfish have made many sensational appearances in literature and films, not all jellyfish are venomous or even mildly dangerous to humans, as they are generally made out to be. In fact, most jellyfish are completely harmless to human. Only some jellyfish are capable of causing harm to humans, and it is important to identify them, so that they can be avoided. Here are some of the most dangerous jellyfish in the world:

  • Carukia barnesi (commonly known as Irukandji jellyfish): Irukandji jellyfish are classified as Cubozoans. This species of jellyfish is extremely poisonous. Symptoms of an Irukandji sting including nausea, vomiting, cramps, high blood pressure, etc. The sting itself only causes mild discomfort, but the venom is slow-acting and severe symptoms surface only after a few minutes of the sting. There is no known antidote to the venom of Irukandji venom. In most cases, victims have to be hospitalized and in rare cases, people are known to have died from Irukandji stings.
  • Chironex fleckeri, (commonly known as the box jellyfish, marine stinger, or sea wasp): This species of jellyfish are also from the species Cubozoa. This species of jellyfish is amongst the most dangerous to humans. The tentacles of Chironex fleckeri are covered with a very high density of venom containing nematocysts, and their venom itself is also very powerful. A sting from a Chironex fleckeri can be excruciatingly painful and will result in death. In fact, a Chironex fleckeri sting can kill 60 humans in a span of only 3 minutes! It is important to remember that box jellyfish are actually an entire subspecies of jellyfish, of which Chironex fleckeri is only one species. Not all species of box jellyfish are dangerous to humans.
  • Physalia physali (commonly known as Portuguese Man O' War, blue bubble, blue bottle, man-of-war): This species is wrongly considered to be a jellyfish, it is not even a single organism. It is, in fact, a colony of four highly specialized polyps. These polyps are all attached to each other and serve different functions similar to different parts of a single body. They cannot survive independently, only as an integrated whole. A man-of-war sting can be extremely painful to humans and may leave red welts where the tentacles have made contact with skin. The sting can also lead to fever, shock, heart and lung problems, and in rare cases, even death. Victims will require hospitalization to complete treat the symptoms of a man-of war sting.
  • Chrysaora quinquecirrha (commonly known as Sea Nettle): This species of jellyfish is reddish-brown in color, has a saucer-like shape, has four oral arms and long tentacles and is usually 6 to 8 inches in size. A single sting from the sea nettle usually causes only mild prickly sensation or mild burning. However, like most jellyfish, they travel in shoals and multiple stings from sea nettle can cause serious harm to humans.
Learn 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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