JellyFish Facts

Irukandji Jellyfish, Iracongi Jellyfish

Irukandji Jellyfish, Iracongi Jellyfish picture

Irukandji Jellyfish, Iracongi Jellyfish

Irukandji Jellyfish, sometimes referred to as Iracongi Jellyfish are extremely toxic and very tiny and found usually around Australia. There are two species which are currently known, these species are the Carukia barnesi and the Malo kingi which has been discovered only recently. These jellyfish are responsible for Irukandji Syndrome which is caused by a group of symptoms intertwined. this syndrome was first researched and recorded by Hugo Flecker in the year of 1952 and the Jellyfish was named after the Irukandji people whose land is along the coastal strip north of Cairns in Queensland, Australia. in 1964 Dr. Jack Barnes made the very first identification of the Carukia barnesi and stung himself as well as his own son and a lifeguard to prove that this tiny jellyfish was the cause of irukanji Syndrome, he was successful.

the Irikandji jellyfish not only have the ability to sting with their tentacles but can also sting those who come into contact with only the bell of this jellyfish. These jellyfish are so fragile that keeping them in a normal fish bowl or an aquarium is out of the question, the slightest impact with the side of the tank can kill them. when a person is stung by an irikandji jellyfish the experience of irukandji syndrome is far from a pleasant one. symptoms will consist of extreme pain at various parts of the body , nausea, vomiting, migraines, perspiration, rapid pulse, high blood pressure and even a feeling of impending doom. as of the year 2007 Magnesium Sulfate has been used to treat this deadly syndrome. the actual sting itself does not cause intense irritation and it is after 5 minutes up to 2 hours that the severe syndrome begins although it takes about half an hour on average. the syndrome may last for a few hours up to several days with those stung usually requiring hospitalization.

it is thought that generally a single sting from an Irukandji jellyfish is not fatal but in 2002 two people in Australia died after being stung by what is thought to be this very species. it is unclear just how many other people have died as a result of Irukandji syndrome but have had the cause of their deaths wrongly recorded.It is also unknown just how many other species of Jellyfish are capable of causing Irikandji syndrome apart from the Carukia barnesi and the Malo Kingi.

the irikandji jellyfish are extremely small in size which makes them difficult if not impossible to see in the water. they are about the size of your pinkie fingernail and have a transparent or opaque color. these jellyfish are normally found in coastal regions and are lured to these areas by the warmer waters but blooms of Irukandji jellyfish have been reported as being seen out up to 5 kilometers away from the shoreline.

the use of vinegar on Irukandji stings has not been proven to be very effective. it is imperative that if you have been stung by one of these vicious marine creatures or you feel that you may be suffering from Irukandji Syndrome that you seek immediate medical attention to treat the sting and the illness. There is plenty more information on Irukanji jellyfish which is available at our Jellyfish Safety Section.

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Written by and Sudarsana Sinha.

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