2What is it?The box Jelly fish is an invertebrate sea animal (also known as a Sea Wasp). It is a very dangerous creature that inhabits Australian waters. This Jellyfish is responsible for more deaths (in Australia) than snakes, sharks and many more animals. The jellyfish has extremely deadly neurotoxic toxins in it‘s body. When it‘s tenticals sting something it realeases them, poisening it‘s victim. It can kill an adult in 4 minutes. The jellyfish has a square body (hence were it gets its name) and inhabits the north east areas of Australia. It is comonly found along the coast of the Great Barrier Reef. This species is related to another deadly jellyfish, the irukandji jellyfish.
3What is it?They are pale blue and transparent in colour. They can grow up to 15 tentacles from each corner of the bell (60 tentacles in total)which can reach up to 3 meters in length. It’s body measures up to 30 cm in diameter and it’s weight can reach 2 kg. Each tentacle has about 5,000 stinging cells, which are triggered by the presence of a chemical on the outer layer of its prey. Not by the touch of it’s prey. Box jellyfish are highly advanced among other jellyfish. They have the ability to move rather than just drift. Moving up to four knots through the water. They also have eyes grouped in clusters of six on the four sides of their bell. Each cluster includes a pair of eyes that are very detailed and complex, without a central nervous system scientists today are still not sure how they process what they see.
5Box Jelly Fish Attacks 10 year old! Rachael Shardlow, a ten year old girl, was attacked by a box jellyfish in Calliope river in central Queensland. Rachael had been swimming in the River (23 kilometres upstream from the ocean mouth) with her brother, near the town of Gladstone when she was stung. Losing consciousness, her brother (13 years old) had to pull her out of the water and the jellyfish's tentacles that were still wrapped around her legs. Before she passed out, she told him she could not see or breathe. Box jellyfish stings are so painful that victims often go into shock, get paralysed and drown or die of heart failure before reaching shore. There is no known antidote. The sting attacks the heart, nervous system and skin. They also give their victims shooting muscle pains, vomiting and a rapid rise in blood pressure. Jamie Seymour, a zoology professor from James Cook University, told the news, "When I first saw the pictures of the injuries I just went, 'You know, to be honest, this kid should not be alive. I mean, they are horrific creatures.’ Rachael's father, Geoff, says his daughter has some short-term memory loss as well as the scarring. Medics say she should be dead and her family are just thankful for a miracle. She spent six weeks recovering in hospital before returning home.
6How does it attack?The box Jellyfish tentacles have about 5,000 stinging cells. These are triggered by the presence of a chemical on the outer layer of its prey. It paralyses the prey The box jellyfish actively hunts zooplankton and small fish. Most jellyfish can only drift but the box jellyfish is capable of achieving speeds of up to 4 knots (7.4kmh) which is a big advantage when hunting. Box jellyfish are sometimes known as the ‘suckerpunchers’ of the sea because their sting is rarely detected until the venom is injected and because they are almost transparent. Sea turtles, however, are apparently unaffected by the sting and eat box jellies.
7It’s Venom!The venom is very complex. It has neurotoxic effects, which is fast acting. It attacks the central nervous system, stopping the messages from being sent from the brain around the body. You are quickly paralyzed which eventually stops the respiratory system from working, you can drown, die from heart failure or many other the things. It will also inflame, disrupt sodium and potassium ion exchange, attack organs and cellular structure. Box jellyfish venom has a median lethal dose of 40 micrograms, which makes it the strongest marine toxin. The venom may kill a person weighing 70 kg within 3 minutes. Box jellyfish venom has caused 72 deaths secondary to respiratory paralysis, neuromuscular paralysis drowning, and cardiovascular collapse.
8How neurotoxic venom works! Once a tentacle of the box jellyfish sticks to the skin, it pumps nematocysts with venom into the skin causing the sting and lots of pain. Removal of additional tentacles is usually done with a towel, gloved hand or other tool to prevent secondary stinging. Tentacles will still sting if separated from the bell, or after the creature is dead. The venom works by either breaking down the cells producing important signal chemicals or by combining with the chemicals themselves. This confuses the receptors which should be transmitting messages around the body.
9Treatment!Vinegar is an effective treatment as it disables the box jellyfishes nematocysts not yet discharged into the bloodstream. This does not relieve pain, but prevents additional stings. Make sure never to rub the area with sand or anything else. You should apply lots of vinegar before and after the stinging tentacle is removed. If you have not applied vinegar to and around the sting when you remove the tentacle you may cause some nematocysts to come into contact with the skin and cause more stinging. Tentacles will still sting if separated from the jellyfish or after it has died. Some rumors on sting treatment say that urine, sodium bicarbonate, lemon juice, applying heat or cold packs, alcohol, fresh water or steroid cream will disable any further stinging. There is no scientific evidence to support this, these substances may even quicken the release of venom. In really bad box Jellyfish cases cardiac arrest can occur quickly so CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) can be life saving. If the victim stops breathing this should take priority over all other treatment options. In 2011 Professor Angel Yanagihara announced that she had developed an antivenom by analyzing the box jellyfishes venom. Its was demonstrated in the documentary Venom: Nature's killer.Irrigate exposed eyes with copious amounts of room temperature tap water for at least 15 minutes. If vision blurs, or the eyes continue to tear, hurt, swell, or are light sensitive after irrigating, see a doctor.If the victim has shortness of breath, weakness, muscle cramps, palpitations or any other generalized symptoms, immediately call 911 or take them to the nearest emergency room.If pain becomes unbearable, go to an emergency room.
10Attack statistics!The statistics are actually surprisingly low. They are thought to be higher because the media publishes and makes big stories out of the attacks. The Box Jelly fish has been the cause of around 70 fatal jellyfish attacks in tropical Australian waters.