JellyFish Facts

Sea Wasp Jellyfish

Sea Wasp Jellyfish picture

Sea Wasp Jellyfish

The Sea Wasp Jellyfish, also known as the Box Jellyfish, is given the scientific name Chironex fleckeri. They have a cube or bell shaped form and their body is often divided into different segments. It is because of their cube-like shape that they are referred to as box jellyfish.

Their bodies are transparent but some have a pale blue colour to them. They can grow to sizes of around twenty centimetres and weigh around two kilograms. Box jellyfish usually have around fifteen tentacles found on each corner of their cube-shaped bodies and they can grow to lengths of three meters. They are covered with nematocysts, which are stinging cells. A single tentacle of these species can have as many as five thousand nematocysts. These tentacles are used by the sea wasp jellyfish to capture its prey, which are made up of crustaceans and small fish.

A most unusual feature of sea wasp jellyfish is that they have four eyes. Since it has no brain, there is no information on what the jellyfish actually sees, but it is known that it manages to use these eyes to avoid coming into contact with even the smallest of objects. This jellyfish moves with a speed of four knots.

The sea wasp jellyfish has very powerful venom that is stored within its stinging cells. When the jellyfish senses the presence of certain chemicals in the environment, it triggers the tentacles to release their venom. So for the jellyfish to be touched in order to sting isn't necessary. This also means that certain species of sea wasp jellyfish can be touched by humans because we do not release any of the chemicals that trigger it to release its venom. But in the presence of the right chemicals, often exuded by fish scales, the nematocysts immediately inject their strong venom towards or into the victim.

Sea wasps are generally found in shallow sea water, and if you can spot any of them in the water then swimming and other activities are not recommended. A regular wetsuit is not sufficient to protect you from sea wasp stings and a specially designed box jellyfish wetsuit is needed to prevent getting stung. A cheap alternative that many people, including lifeguards, use is to wear nylon pantyhose over your arms and legs as sea wasps can't sting you through them.

The sting of a sea wasp can cause terrible pain for humans. The tentacles tend to stick to skin and they should not be removed while still alive because this can cause more toxins to be released, making the problem even worse. If the pain is not treated it can remain for many weeks and the sting can also leave a significant scar.

Stings from sea wasps can be treated by pouring methylated spirits such as vinegar on to the remaining tentacles to kill them. Once this happens it is safe to remove them. Proper treatment and an antidote to the venom of sea wasps are important, so you should seek professional help even if the sting is treated right after it happens.

Learn more about Jellyfish and Jellyfish Species

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

Written by and Sudarsana Sinha.

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