JellyFish Facts

Small Jellyfish

Small Jellyfish picture

Small Jellyfish

There are 200 different species of jellyfish, and they come in all sizes and colors. Jellyfish are found in all oceans of the world and live at varying depths in the water. There are 70 varieties of jellyfish that are known to have venomous stings.

The most deadly jellyfish are found in the waters of Australia. There is a species called Carukia barnesi, or Irukandji as it is commonly known, is responsible for a dreaded syndrome and many people get hospitalized every year with this potentially fatal syndrome. This bell body of this jellyfish is only 2 centimeters in diameter, and is found mainly in north Queensland, Australia. It has a four retractile tentacles, of about half to five centimeters long. Initially the sting does not seem to be painful, but usually after thirty minutes the person will start getting severe headaches or backaches. There will be shooting pains in their muscles and the chest and abdominal areas. They will feel nauseous and restless, and might start vomiting. In some cases it is reported that the person, will develop fluids in their lungs and this can be fatal if not treated in time.

The Irukandji jellyfish is found mostly in deep waters of the reef, but can be swept nearer to the shore by prevailing currents. Usually divers and people snorkeling are more at risk from getting stung by this jellyfish. It is very hard to notice underwater, because of its tiny size and transparency.

Most of the victims need immediate hospitalization, where they are given analgesia, or intravenous antihypertensive therapy.

Another tiny jellyfish is the half-inch long thimble jellyfish, and is found in the north Atlantic, Arctic and northern Pacific coastal waters during spring and early summer. It has four tentacles, that are covered with the usual nematocysts that discharge the toxins. This jellyfish is known to feed on crustacean plankton and barnacle larvae. It swims intermittently and then holds still with its tentacles extended. A passing prey is captured when it comes in contact with its tentacles. The toxins in the tentacles will immobilize the small prey and they will bend inwards to take the prey to the mouth where it is ingested and digested.

The sting of the thimble jellyfish is not as deadly as the Irukandji, and will usually cause a burning and itching. The thimble jelly is also hard to detect, but actually it is the larvae of this jellyfish that causes the main problem to bathers in the Caribbean. These larvae are often refereed to as sea lice, and cause a lot of painful rash, called the "seabather's eruption" on the victim. They are very tiny and you wont know that you have been affected until the rash appears. These tiny jellyfish usually will get caught in between the swim suit and the skin of the person. The parts that get rubbed will get the most infestations, like the inner thighs, armpits, neck and so on. In mild cases antihistamines are considered helpful, and in severe cases systemic steroids are administered under medical supervision.

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

Written by and Sudarsana Sinha.

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