Box jellyfish

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A tiny but deadly box jelly
Queensland, Australia: you have been warned...

The Cubozoa, the box jellies, contain some of the most dangerous jellyfish in the phylum Cnidaria. They make up a small class of Cnidarians, with only 19 species.[1] It is their powerful venom which makes them noteworthy.

All cubozoans have four 'legs' (pedalia) hanging from the corners, from which hang tentacles. They have a rudimentary neural network. The cubozoans can move through the water to actively hunt prey, and have a degree of sight as they have up to 24 eyes. Cubozoans have two main eyes on each of the four pedalia, each with a lens, retina and cornea; and some species also have eye-spots as well.

The box jellies are found in tropical oceanic waters round the world. Their venom is delivered by stinging nematocysts, which cluster on tentacles, each with half a million stinging cells. The largest species, Chironex fleckeri, has caused many human deaths. The pain of an attack is agonising, and heart failure is a danger. The attack can be treated: first with vinegar, then remove stingers, then apply anti-venom.[2][3]

References[change | change source]

  1. Gershwin L. 2005a. Taxonomy and phylogeny of Australian Cubozoa. PhD, School of Marine Biology and Aquaculture, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland.
  2. Fenner P, Williamson J, Blenkin J (1989). "Successful use of Chironex antivenom by members of the Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade". Med J Aust 151 (11-12): 708–10. PMID 2574410.
  3. Fenner P (2000). "Marine envenomation: An update - A presentation on the current status of marine envenomation first aid and medical treatments". Emerg Med Australasia 12 (4): 295–302. doi:10.1046/j.1442-2026.2000.00151.x.