• Chaitrali Samant

Venomous Jellyfish: What You Need To Know

The most toxic animal in the world is the Australian Box Jellyfish. A fascinating creature that can be scary at first, but as is true with all sea creatures, cooler as you get to know them.





Overview

The box jellyfish is a large and mostly transparent creature found in the coastal waters of Northern Australia and Indo Pacific. Called "box" jellyfish because of their cube like shape, they are usually 10 feet (!!!) long. They can have up to 15 very delicate tentacles, each with 5,000 stinging cells. These cells are activated not by another body, but by a chemical they sense on their victim's outer layer.


Adaptations

Their venom is probably the most well known part about box jellyfish, and for good reason. Once stung, a human sized creature will die within two minutes. The toxins will attack the brain, heart, and skin cells, causing overwhelming pain. Some humans have gone into shock and die before the toxins themselves kill them. Survivors may not have a quick recovery either, often left in pain for weeks. The only animal that can resist their sting are sea turtles, which often eat box jellyfish.


Box jellyfish are also highly advanced when compared to not only invertebrates, but to other jellyfish as well. They don't drift, but are able to jet themselves around at nearly four knots. They also have up to 24 eyes on their body, with a highly developed lens, retina, iris, and cornea. However, since jellyfish lack a central nervous system, scientists aren't sure how the box jellyfish processes the information from its eyes.


Threats

Over 100 people die each year from box jellyfish stings, however experts warn it could be much more. So, it's important to exercise caution when swimming in their native waters. But, here's a quick reminder that a box jellyfish doesn't want to hurt you! it's just trying to protect itself, because it thinks you might be a threat. So, if you ever spot one, make sure to observe safely and let the jellyfish drift away.


Some more resources that may interest you:

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/group/box-jellyfish/ 
https://www.livescience.com/6353-deadly-box-jellyfish.html 

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