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Symptoms of box jellyfish sting: The request could not be satisfied

How to Survive a Box Jellyfish Sting (According to Science)

Believe it or not, a tiny little jellyfish takes the title for the most venomous creature on Earth! Just getting part of a tentacle on your skin is enough to kill a person within 2 minutes. We know this deadly creature as the box jellyfish. 

I hope that got your attention because if you happen to visit anywhere in tropical Australia or the Indo-pacific, you need to listen to this! It may save your life.

This is one of the few marine animals I feel it’s ok to start with a paragraph talking about how quickly it could kill you. Part of the reason for that is that far too many people die from what could be a preventable encounter. You just need to know a bit about these animals to appreciate them, avoid them, and not end up in the hospital, or worse, the grave.  

The Box Jellyfish Basics

Scientists have currently identified 51 species of box jellyfish worldwide. It’s estimated that between 50 and 100 people die a year from encounters, but that estimate may still be low. Many incidents go unreported since they occur throughout the indo-pacific in poor, remote places. 

Some box jellyfish are small, about the size of your thumbnail. Others have bells the size of a basketball – with 10 feet of tentacles trailing behind them. All have the ability to inflict painful stings and a few are well known to quickly kill a human. 

Here I’ll primarily discuss how to survive Australia’s box jellyfish (Chironex fleckeri). It is the biggest and arguably deadliest. It’s commonly called the Indo-Pacific box jellyfish or Flecker’s box jellyfish. 

Unlike other jellyfish, box jellyfish actively swim and hunt for their prey! An adult can swim upwards of 4 knots in short bursts – that’s as fast as you can walk. In addition, they have eyes. They’re not exactly like ours, but they do detect rudimentary images and use them to see in all directions. They can see dark objects better than light objects and will actively avoid them in the water. This is one reason dark clothing is better than light when in box jellyfish waters.

A box jelly has clusters of 15 tentacles that attach at the four corners of the box-like medusa – that makes a total of 60 tentacles. Each tentacle can be up to 10’ long, and scientists estimate an adult man only needs about 6’ or 7’ of tentacle to touch them to provide a lethal dose of venom. That means a box jellyfish has enough venom to kill nearly 60 humans. 

Venom is injected in the same way it is with other cnidarians, such as the Portuguese man-o-war that we discussed in the previous chapter. Small cells with nematocysts will fire upon touch or chemical stimulation. In this case, there are hundreds of thousands of nematocysts that fire per sting. These hooked, dart-like syringes dispense the venom into their prey – or our skin. A box jelly is estimated to have about 5 billion nematocysts!

The venom of a box jellyfish is different from other stingers. It’s a complex concoction of different compounds, none of which are very well understood. We know it contains a multitude of compounds that, when injected together, work very effectively to immobilize and kill their victims. For humans, it acts in three main ways.

1 – It causes severe skin death. That results in permanent scarring of the skin. 

2 – It destroys blood vessels. 

3 – It produces intense muscle spasms that are so severe that muscles of the heart can’t relax  between contractions, stopping blood flow. 

Symptoms of a box jellyfish sting Include

  • pain, itching, rashing, welts. 
  • nausea, diarrhea, swollen lymph nodes, coma, muscle spasms, death.
  • heart failure

Fortunately there is an antivenom, which many lifeguard stands within box jellyfish territory do carry. Unfortunately, the venom acts so quickly that if it’s not administered right away it may be too late.  

What the Box Jellyfish Venom Does

The venom is a component of many things. Each acts on a different part of the body. One component causes localized pain. Another component travels through veins and arteries straight to the heart. After a sting, the pain comes on quickly and continues to get more intense and widespread through the body – ratcheting up the pain with each passing moment. 

Scenarios to Avoid with Box Jellyfish

This general advice applies to all areas of the box jellyfish’s range, but is especially important in the warm, murky waters of Australia’s north-eastern coast in summer. This area is home to crocodiles and box jellyfish, so this info is a bit of a two-for-one avoidance strategy.

  • First, always wear protective clothing. Any kind will do. Lycra suits or even pantyhose will reduce risk while swimming, especially in the summer months. 
  • Swim only on patrolled beaches, preferably in netted swimming areas.  
  • Do not run or dive into the water; walk in slowly. 
  • Do not allow children to enter the water without protective clothing, nor to swim unsupervised during the summer danger season. 
  • Take the trouble to be educated in the fundamentals of rescue and resuscitation from a sting by a box-jellyfish.

The Most Dangerous Box Jellyfish

The most dangerous of the 51 species of box jellyfish is the Australian box jellyfish (Chironex fleckeri) which is why I’m highlighting it specifically here. Others (like Malo kingi and Carukia barnesi) may be called by the common name Irukandji jellyfish. They’re often very small (an inch or less), but they pack enough venom to kill a human. Novelist Robert Drewe described the sting as “100 times as potent as that of a cobra and 1,000 times stronger than that of a tarantula’s.”

Let’s not forget that there are types of box jellyfish all over the world. The Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, for instance, have a species that is capable of killing a human as well.

How to Survive a Box Jellyfish Sting? 

  • Immediately get out the water, before you possibly lose the ability to swim and drown.
  • Pick off the tentacle if it’s still on the body. Make sure not to touch it with bare hands – use gloves or utilize a piece of clothing or a towel. 
  • Rinse with vinegar if it’s available. Do so generously. While there is still some debate whether or not this is helpful, it’s not harmful. 
  • Get immediate medical attention. If anti-venom is available, it can be given to counteract the effects of the venom. 

There are some important things not to do too.

  • Don’t pee on the sting or tentacles.
  • Don’t rub the area that is stinging.
  • Don’t put baking soda on the sting.

All of these actions are likely to cause more nematocysts to fire – increasing your dose of venom.

Prefer to Listen?

If you’d rather listen to this article about box jellyfish stings and safety, I recorded this for you.

Videos about Box Jellyfish

If you enjoyed this article, you might enjoy this selection of youtube videos as well.

Jellyfish Stings | Doctors Urgent Care

Jellyfish stings are common in Florida and may or may not need medical attention. Jellyfish stings are a common problem for people swimming, wading, or diving in seawaters. The long tentacles trailing from the Jellyfish body can inject you with venom using thousands of microscopic barbed stingers. Jellyfish stings vary greatly in severity. Most often they result in an immediate stinging pain with redness, leaving irritated marks on the skin. Some Jellyfish stings may cause more whole-body (systemic) illness which is life threatening such as a Box Jellyfish. These Jellyfish stings are life-threatening. But the vast majority of stings are minor.
How do I know I’ve been stung?

You may not see the Jellyfish itself so common signs and symptoms of Jellyfish stings include:

  • Burning, prickling, stinging pain
  • Stomach pain, nausea and vomiting
  • Red, brown or purplish tracks on the skin
  • Headache, confusion (in severe cases)
  • a “print” of the tentacles’ contact with your skin
  • Muscle pain or spasms
  • Itching – weakness, drowsiness, fainting (in severe cases)
  • Swelling – Difficulty breathing (in most severe cases)
  • Throbbing pain that radiates up a leg or an arm

Treatment: Most Jellyfish stings get better with home treatment. Severe reactions require emergency medical care, call 911.

The best treatment for you depends on the type of Jellyfish that stung you. In general, most stings can be treated easily by rinsing the area with salt water to remove tentacles to prevent further release of venom and then immersing the affected area in hot water. Excess rubbing of the skin will fire more Jellyfish venom into you from the barbs embedded in your skin. Applying undiluted vinegar has been scientifically proven to deactivate the toxin in the barbs. If you are lucky enough to have some at the beach use this first. Then you may pluck out the barbs with tweezers or get a product called “Sting No More” which contains Vinegar and highly concentrated Urea. The Vinegar deactivates the barbs and the Urea help them wash off. The Urea in human urine is of too low a concentration to work on Jellyfish Stings.

AVOID- These remedies are unhelpful and may cause you discomfort

  • Rinsing with human urine
  • Excess rubbing
  • Rinsing with fresh water
  • Applying meat tenderizer
  • Applying alcohol, ethanol, or ammonia
  • Pressure bandages

How can I prevent being stung by a jellyfish in Florida? There are a couple of ways you can protect yourself from a Jellyfish sting. These include, wearing a protective suit, talking with lifeguards and monitoring their flags and warning before swimming or diving in coastal waters, especially in areas where Jellyfish are common. There are products, commonly mixed with sunblock that are advertised to help prevent Jellyfish and other stings, but their benefit is unclear. Avoid entering the water during Jellyfish season.

Being stung by a Jellyfish is normally not life threatening but if you experience severe symptoms seek medical care immediately.

See our Physicians and P.A.s at Doctors Urgent Care for the highest quality medical evaluation and treatment. We are familiar with and treat jelly fish stings.

David B. Dean, MD

Medical Director

Doctors Urgent Care

All about jellyfish stings – Curious

If you’ve ever been swimming at a beach in Australia you’ve most likely heard of the dangers of jellyfish stings. Maybe you have even had the unpleasant experience of being stung by the seemingly innocuous, tentacled, translucent invertebrate yourself.

You know it hurts. But how much do you know about Australia’s most dangerous marine stingers? 

It turns out even jellyfish experts have much to learn.

What happens when a jellyfish stings you?

Jellyfish have thousands of stinging cells on their tentacles, which each house a specialised structure called a nematocyst. A sting—which is designed to immobilise prey—occurs when nematocysts fire harpoon-like barbs into the victim. This happens when hair triggers on the tentacles brush against a potential predator or prey—or your leg—triggering the barbs to propel into the victim. It’s a clever and effective mechanism for injecting their venom!

The firing sequence of the jellyfish nematocyst cells is shown from left to right. Once triggered, the barb is released from the cellular capsule, stinging the prey/predator. Image adapted from: Alison; CC0

The barb releases toxins, which generally create painful localised reactions in humans. These can also affect various systems within the body such as the cardiovascular and respiratory systems—and may result in fatalities in some cases. The levels and chemical composition of the toxins within each barb, as well as the number of nematocysts fired, results in variation and degree of severity of symptoms.

Species and stings of greatest concern in Australian tropical waters include the major box jellyfish (Chironex fleckeri), bluebottles (Physalia spp.), and a group known as Irukandji jellyfish that can cause serious reactions in humans. The effects of Irukandji stings externally appear similar to anaphylaxis, but are systematically more like an amphetamine overdose. It pays to be aware of the various types of jellyfish and their stings, as differing treatments are required.

A sting—which is designed to immobilise prey—occurs when nematocysts fire harpoon-like barbs into the victim.

Irukandji syndrome presents as nausea, vomiting, back pain and powerful stomach cramps, among other symptoms, including a ‘feeling of impending doom’. It can cause high blood pressure (hypertension) and injury to the heart that may result in heart failure. Currently, there are around 20 species of jellyfish thought to cause Irukandji syndrome in humans. These reactions to jellyfish stings have typically been encountered in tropical Australia, but may happen all over the world, including sub-tropical and temperate regions.

However, not all jellyfish species causing Irukandji syndrome have been named and classified. There is a rare, but potentially deadly stinger which in appearance is very similar to a bluebottle but causes much more devastating reactions. Due to the lack of awareness and understanding of this species, it may often be mistaken for a bluebottle sting. The unnamed species is about the size of a hand, which is considerably larger than the common bluebottle and has multiple tentacles, whereas the common bluebottles have just one. This jellyfish has been reported in blooms off the coast of Australia only every 10 to 30 years. It is so rare that scientists have had little opportunity to observe and classify the mystery species.

A mystery of the ocean. Little is known about this rare type of bluebottle that has multiple tentacles and is larger than the common bluebottle—with a much more dangerous sting. Image adapted from: Image adapted from Dr Lisa-ann Gershwin; used with permission

What do you do in the case of a jellyfish sting?

While treatments differ depending on the species of stinger (and the locations they are most likely to inhabit), the main elements to act on to treat a jellyfish sting are:

  • detaching the tentacles or rinsing away the nematocysts
  • neutralising venom effects
  • relieving symptoms, including pain.

Everywhere but the tropics the priority is pain relief: washing the affected area with seawater is recommended for helping to remove the tentacles and microscopic nematocysts without releasing further toxins. Washing with freshwater stimulates the remaining nematocysts to discharge, thus injecting more toxins into the victim. Always avoid rubbing the area of a sting.

If there are a lot of bluebottles washed up on the beach or there are blue tentacles present on the skin, it is most likely a bluebottle sting. The pain is instant and sharp. Remove the tentacles using tweezers or (covered) fingers, and rinse the area with seawater. Apply hot water if available to the sting site—this is most easily done by having a hot shower or bath. If hot water doesn’t relieve the pain or isn’t an available option, an ice pack can be used. Seek medical assistance immediately if the victim experiences systemic symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, lower back pain or sweating (these are all Irukandji symptoms, suggesting it might not actually be a common bluebottle sting).

This bluebottle jellyfish has been found washed up on a shore. Jellyfish from nearby waters can be found on beaches following strong winds and currents. Image adapted from: Dr Lisa-ann Gershwin; used with permission

In the tropics, where the stingers are potentially lethal, the focus is on preservation of life. If for any reason you think it could be a box jellyfish or Irukandji sting, or you are not sure of the origin of the sting, douse the affected area with vinegar for at least 30 seconds. This will usually neutralise any microscopic nematocysts that may remain. Seek medical help immediately and note any reactions within the hour following the sting. Perform CPR if necessary.

There is still much to learn about the many classified and unclassified jellyfish species in Australian and other waters. The more understanding we have, the better we will become at treating and preventing these potentially deadly, and just downright painful, stings. As we develop our knowledge we can make better predictions about where they’ll be and when to watch out for them and can have the remedies for treatment prepared and ready for the inevitable marine stings that people experience on our coast each summer.

We asked the rescuers to make sure all holidaymakers are aware of the siphonophora on the beaches of Phuket and Krabi, ”said Mr. Kitipat Tarapiban.

Recommendations of doctors: For a bite from a Portuguese boat, rinse the wound with sea water and never with vinegar, which helps with other jellyfish bites.
Jellyfish appeared more than 650 million years ago, they can be called one of the oldest organisms on Earth.

About 95% of the body of a jellyfish is water, it is also their habitat.Most jellyfish live in salt water, although there are species that prefer freshwater. Jellyfish – the phase of the life cycle of representatives of the genus Medusozoa, “sea jelly” alternates with a motionless asexual phase of motionless polyps, from which they are formed by budding after maturation.

The name was introduced in the 18th century by Karl Linnaeus, he saw in these strange organisms a certain resemblance to the mythical Medusa Gorgon, thanks to the presence of tentacles that flutter like hair. With their help, the jellyfish catches small organisms that serve it as food.The tentacles can be long or short, spiky filaments, but they all have stinging cages that stun prey and make hunting easier.

The invasion of jellyfish on the Thai islands. In Thailand, near Koh Samet in Rayong province, you can now observe a unique natural phenomenon: the clear waters around the island are literally filled with colorful jellyfish.
In August and September, a huge colony of jellyfish almost always appears near Samet. There is a lot of plankton here.Jellyfish eat it. In addition, fishing is prohibited here.

Two tourists were burned yesterday while swimming on Lamai Beach on Koh Samui.
Aquabike operators and other beach service staff immediately set up stands warning of the appearance of harmful sea creatures.
Rescuers treated the injured tourists with vinegar, after which they were sent to the hospital.
According to medical reports, the lives of travelers are out of danger.

Beach lifeguards installed warning boards.“We warn vacationers about the dangers at sea that may lie in wait for them now. We are talking about the appearance of dangerous jellyfish in the water area of ​​the beach. And if help is needed, we will treat the wounds with vinegar before the doctors arrive, ”said the beachside Chalamkao.
Due to the exclusive location of Pattaya in the Gulf of Thailand, the resort is not threatened by the invasion of jellyfish.

Jellyfish in Thailand are certainly a beautiful sight, but it is better to watch them from a distance and not touch them with your hands. Severe pain shock from a burn can be fatal.In addition, jellyfish venom can cause difficulty breathing and heartbeat.

Tourists rent boats and admire the rare sight. Swimming in the sea full of jellyfish is prohibited. Jellyfish burns can be fatal to a bather.
Victims of jellyfish should immediately see a doctor at the local hospital. If this is not possible, you need to neutralize the jellyfish poison. This is done with vinegar or lime juice.

But the most important thing You can’t swim after sunset and especially in the rain – during the rainy season in Thailand , all kinds of nasty things float to the shore – the water is muddy and you can’t see anything!

Poisonous jellyfish appear off the coast of Asian resorts during the rainy season.In Thailand, in August, the rainy season begins in Phuket and Koh Samui, the peak season with the heaviest rainfall is on the island of Koh Chang. In particular, extremely dangerous box jellyfish can be found in many coastal provinces of the Andaman coast and the south of the Gulf of Thailand. The bite of such a jellyfish is accompanied by severe pain, causes muscle spasm, nausea, vomiting, headache, and can cause heart failure. It is especially dangerous if the jellyfish stings far from the shore – the swimmer can die within a few minutes from pain shock or cardiac arrest.

Poisonous jellyfish can be fatal to children, the elderly, people with asthma or allergies. A jellyfish burn can cause fever, pain shock, and respiratory distress syndrome.
“Bluebottles are a real disaster that brings the monsoon to the shores of Phuket every year, mainly to 13 beaches on the west coast,” says Lifeguard Club President Pratayut Chuiyan.

First aid for a poisonous jellyfish bite Box jellyfish

1 If there was contact with a jellyfish, cry for help, but do not wave your arms trying to drive it away from you.You risk getting more burns by touching the invisible tentacles of the Box jellyfish.

2 Slowly move away from the place where you were attacked by the jellyfish and quickly head towards the shore.

3 On the shore, inspect the wounds, if they look like burns, see a doctor immediately.

4 While waiting to be sent to the hospital, splash the damaged area with sea water to prevent the poison from the bite from spreading through the body.

5 Table vinegar helps to stop the spread of poison.It is also able to significantly reduce pain.
It is necessary to thoroughly rinse the wound with vinegar, that is, pour it over the bite site for about half a minute, then apply ice.

Doesn’t help with Box jellyfish bites: alcohol, urine or water. They should not be used in any case, since these substances contribute to the spread of poison throughout the body.

As soon as the poison is neutralized, the pain subsides in 5-10 minutes.

As a rule, serious symptoms, up to death, occur in the first 10 minutes after the bite, after this time, as a rule, there are no fatal outcomes.

Basic advice: refrain from swimming during the rainy season. If you intend to swim and swim in the waves, wear a wetsuit, or at least so that your arms and legs are covered with clothes.

Box Jellyfish

Despite the appearance, – all the mouth, surrounded by tentacles – box jellyfish, or cubozoans (literally “animal cubes”), have eyes that are very similar to ours: with the cornea, lens and retina. But what is even more surprising, in the presence of such complex equipment, the eyes of the box jellyfish are constantly defocused.

The fact is that instead of a brain, this animal has a ring of nerves that frames its mouth. In the absence of a central nervous system capable of processing incoming information, even blurry vision tells the box jellyfish everything it needs to know. How big is it? Can i eat? Can you eat me?

The eyes are placed on four legs resembling tiny clubs – on each side of the cuboid body of the animal. In addition to the two “smart” eyes, there are four light-sensitive pits on each of the legs.Again, this is due to the lack of a brain capable of integrating sensory information. For a box jellyfish, “seeing” the enemy and determining whether it is day or night are two absolutely independent tasks that require separate senses.
It is the eyes that distinguish the box jellyfish from the clan of real jellyfish (or scyphoid, from the Greek skyphos – “bowl”), from which they separated at a very early stage, more than 550 million years ago.
Vision, albeit blurry, helps box jellyfish in something else. Unlike jellyfish themselves, which slowly drift while waiting for food to float into their hands, 90,080 box jellyfish are able to swim very quickly (in some species, the speed is 6 feet per second) and bend around obstacles.This means the ability to “hunt”. In addition, they have been shown to form “married” couples in which the male fertilizes the female using tentacles, rather than spraying sperm and eggs in 90,080 seawater like scyphoids.

This circumstance also explains another important adaptation of them. Box jellyfish are unusually poisonous. One of their species, the sea wasp (Chironex fleckeri), is arguably the deadliest creature on our planet. Her bite instantly causes terrible pain, accompanied by intense burning.The poison affects the nervous system, heart and skin, and within three minutes the case can end in death. Up to 10,000 cases of human bites by box jellyfish are recorded annually, and a fatal outcome is no exception.

The next species, Carukia barnesim, is almost as poisonous. Almost invisible in water, being transparent, no larger than a peanut, this box jellyfish is completely covered with stinging cells. Those who survived her bite experienced the so-called “Irukandji syndrome”, which is expressed in severe pain, nausea, vomiting, a catastrophic surge in blood pressure and a feeling of imminent death.The syndrome was named after one of the indigenous tribes, in whose folklore there is a legend about a terrible disease that affects everyone who dares to enter the sea. The poison causes a violent release of norepinephrine, resulting in a fatal panic in the victim.

Why are box jellyfish so poisonous and is there a connection with vision? In reality, this is all a matter of size. As box jellyfish see, they tend to eat what is larger than them. And in order to somehow minimize the damage to their delicate tentacles, they need to immediately paralyze the victim.For you and me, they are deadly only because we are so big: we ourselves bump into them, exposing ourselves to a much larger number of stinging cells than box jellyfish usually need to immobilize prey

This is interesting

Medusa | Children’s site

Jellyfish are jelly-like aquatic creatures that existed before the era of the dinosaurs. They live in both cold and warm water, as well as deep and shallow coastlines.Jellyfish can range in color from clear to blue, purple or yellow, while many are bioluminescent.

Basic Facts & Information

  • Kingdom: animals
  • Type : coelenterates Cnidaria, creeping
  • Class: scyphoid jellyfish, hydromedusa, box jellyfish
  • Order: corona jellyfish, cornerotes, discomedusa
  • one kg

  • Body size: 2 cm to 2 m
  • Diet: shrimp, fish, crab, small plants
  • Habitat: oceans, seas, salt lakes and freshwater lakes (only one species of jellyfish)
  • An adult jellyfish is called Medusa in honor of the Greek Gorgon, who had snakes on his head.
  • Jellyfish are composed of a smooth, sac-like body with stinging tentacles. Their tentacles are made of stinging cells called clinoblasts to stun and paralyze prey.
  • They have no brain, heart, limbs, bones or senses. In the center of the body, a small hole serves as a primitive mouth that feeds and expels waste. Jellyfish digest their food immediately so they can swim in the water and not drown.
  • Most jellyfish have bioluminescent organs that emit light.This ability helps them attract prey or distract predators, including sea turtles and other creatures.
  • Besides biting, their transparent body serves as a defense mechanism.
  • Since they have no brain, jellyfish have an underlying nervous system made up of receptors that help them detect light and vibration underwater.
  • In addition, jellyfish can regenerate when injured.
  • About 95% of their body is water.


  • Jellyfish are capable of producing offspring both asexually and sexually.
  • Moreover, different types of jellyfish carry their offspring in different ways. Some larvae are expelled from the mouth to fertilize outside the body, while others are in the gonads until they develop.

Power supply.

  • Most jellyfish species are passive predators, that is, they feed on plankton, crustaceans, eggs, and small fish.
  • Sharks, tuna, sea turtles and Pacific salmon are common enemies.
  • Jellyfish are considered one of the oldest animals.
  • Lunar jellyfish are commonly found on the shores of North America and Europe. They live in water about six meters deep and are usually blue or pink in color.
  • Natural Collagen is made from harvested jellyfish.
  • Today there are more than 2,000 different types of jellyfish, of which almost 70 can cause harm to humans.

Symptoms, causes and prevention of a jellyfish sting

  • Here are some common signs and symptoms of a jellyfish sting:
  • Tingling, burning and burning pain.
  • Red, brown and purple stripe of tentacles on the skin.
  • Swelling and itching.
  • When jellyfish stings are severe, a person may feel the following:
    • Abdominal pain, vomiting and nausea.
    • Headache with muscle pain and spasm.
    • Drowsiness and fainting.
    • Difficulty breathing.
  • The tentacles of the jellyfish are equipped with microscopic prickly stings with bulbs that trap venom. It serves as their main defense mechanism against predators and danger.
  • When the tentacle touches a person’s skin, it releases a sting that penetrates the skin and secretes venom. It affects the skin on contact and can enter the bloodstream.
  • Among the most harmful to humans are Portuguese jellyfish, sea nettle and lion’s mane jellyfish.
  • To avoid jellyfish stings, people should wear protective suits and avoid swimming and diving in areas infested with jellyfish.
  • Box jellyfish is a unique type of jellyfish with 24 eyes, 60 anal regions and four parallel brains.Its poison is considered one of the deadliest in the world, as it attacks the nervous system. They are also called sea wasps and sea stingers, which are commonly found in the waters of Northern Australia and the Indo-Pacific.
  • Due to frequent bites in Australia, scientists have developed an antidote for box jellyfish stings.

90,000 Beware of the Deadly Jellyfish Irukandji – Recipes & Travel

Plunging into the world of the crystal clear beaches of North Queensland is a natural activity when you are on the beach.But if you rush forward without checking the water, you can quickly head to b


Plunging into the world of the crystal clear beaches of North Queensland is a natural activity when you are on the beach. But if you rush forward without testing the water, you can quickly head to the hospital after a day at the beach!

Why? Because of the Irukandji jellyfish, a quiet, mysterious, almost invisible assassin who hides in the seas off northern Australia.

Medusa Irukandji, Karukua Barnesi , inhabits northern Australian waters in a wide arc from Exmouth in Western Australia to Gladstone in Queensland.

The Irukandji jellyfish is found in the waters of northern Queensland during the jellyfish season, from about late October to early May.

According to the Australian Marine Support Service, only three people have died from the Irukandji jellyfish worldwide in the past 100 years.

Hence, they are a dangerous but common threat in the water, and while you don’t need to be afraid of them, you still need to know.

Small but deadly

The deadly Irukandji jellyfish is a tiny killer and can be overlooked in the water.

The bell and tentacles, only 2.5 centimeters in diameter, are almost impossible to detect.

Unlike the box jellyfish, the Irukandji jellyfish does not only live in coastal waters, so do not believe that you are safe away from the coast if you are within the northern Australian arc and it is now jellyfish season.


This deadly species of jellyfish has long inhabited these waters, but it became widely known in January 2002 when 58-year-old British tourist Richard Jordon was stung while sailing off Hamilton Island off the coast of Queensland.He died a few days later.

A few months later, reportedly 34-year-old French tourist Robert Gonzalez was similarly stung and taken to hospital where he recovered.

It is reported that in April 2002, 44-year-old American tourist Robert King died after colliding with the Irukandji jellyfish off Port Douglas, Queensland.

Bite Symptoms

The deadly Irukandji jellyfish is related to the more widely known box jellyfish that visitors to the north coast of Queensland are warned about.

From 1883 to the end of 2005, box jellyfish caused at least 70 recorded deaths.

Box jellyfish bite immediately causes pain and scarring. These signs lead to prompt first aid and treatment initiation, which reduces the likelihood of death or serious injury and helps to reduce the death toll.

On the other hand, the Irukandji jellyfish bite often feels like nothing more than a painful irritant with a rash similar to prickly heat.By the time more severe symptoms appear, it will be too late to save a life.

For this reason, it is important to remain vigilant when you are in the water.


If you have been at sea in the Australian jellyfish zone and it is now jellyfish season, be suspicious of any unexpected pain, however minor, especially if it is accompanied by a rash.

If you suspect that you have been stung by one of these nasty ocean dwellers, of any kind, first aid should be provided immediately.

Australian Marine Corps Stinger Advisory Services advises you:

  • Wear protective clothing. A full-length lycra suit reduces the risk of bites by 75%.
  • Carry vinegar with you when you go swimming or boating to get rid of bites.
  • Soak even minor bites with vinegar
  • Do not return to the water until you are sure you are not sick (wait 30 minutes)
  • If in doubt or have difficulty, seek help as soon as possible.You may need to go to the hospital for a more thorough examination and, if necessary, treatment.