The box jellyfish (Cubozoa) is a genus of venomous sea animals in the phylum Cnidaria. They are typically found in tropical waters worldwide, although some species occur in temperate regions. Most species are small, ranging from 8–30 cm (3–12 in), although some reach up to 3 m (9 ft). There are approximately 400 described species, including about 30 recognized subspecies.
Although most box jellyfish sting humans without causing serious damage, some species are capable of delivering potent neurotoxins that cause painful stings. These toxins affect nerve cells and interfere with muscle function, resulting in paralysis, convulsions, and cardiac arrest.
The jellyfish’s venomous sting is one of the deadliest creatures on earth. Its stinging cell contains a cocktail of neurotoxins that paralyze muscles and cause excruciating pain. Jellyfish are found throughout the tropical waters of the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, Red Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico. They live in salt water and freshwater environments and feed on plankton, small fish, and crustaceans.
Jellyfish venoms contain several different types of toxin. Some cause muscle paralysis, while others affect the central nervous system. There are three main types of toxins in jellyfish venom: neuropeptides, cardiotoxins, and cytolytic peptides. Neurotoxin causes severe burning pain and inflammation. Cardiotoxin affects the heart and blood vessels, causing chest pains, shortness of breath, palpitations, and cardiac arrest. Cytolytic peptide attacks the membranes of cells, causing swelling and blistering.
Jellyfish’s Feeding and diet
The blue ringed octopus (Hapalochlaena lunulata), commonly known as the blue ringed octopuses, are found along the Pacific coast of North America. This species has been reported from British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, Mexico, Baja California, and Hawaii. In addition to feeding on bivalve molluscs, crustaceans, fish, and small invertebrates, it feeds on detritus such as woody debris, algae, and seaweed. In some areas, it is considered a nuisance due to its habit of fouling fishing nets and boats.
Range and Appearance
Box jellyfish are among the most venomous creatures in the world. Their stings cause intense pain and swelling, and can even lead to death, especially in children and elderly people. In addition to being dangerous, box jellies are often confused with jellyfish because they look similar. Jellyfish don’t have a hard shell like box jellies do, nor do they have tentacles sticking out of their bell. Instead, jellyfish use their tentacles to capture food and move around.
Facts about the boxed jellyfish
There are about 50 types of box jellyfish, but only about five are dangerous to humans. These jellyfish are found worldwide, including in tropical waters such as the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, South Pacific Ocean, and Indian Ocean. Box jellyfish stingers contain neurotoxins that cause painful muscle cramps, numbness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and even death.
The Australian box jellyfish (also called the sea wasp), Chironex fleuckeri, is considered the most venomously toxic among box jellyfish species. This large jellyfish measures up to one foot in width and has tentacles that can reach lengths of 10 feet. A single stinger contains enough toxin to kill a human within minutes.
While some box jellyfish look similar to each other, there are several differences that make it easy to identify them. One key difference is the presence of a light band around the bell. Another important feature is whether or not the tentacle tips have barbs. If you encounter a jellyfish while swimming, immediately swim away from it. Do not attempt to touch it or pick it up. Remove clothing and shoes, and do not put anything into your mouth.
If you find yourself stung by a box jellyfish, rinse off the affected area with saltwater. Apply ice packs to reduce swelling. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
What causes the box jellyfish sting?
Box jellyfish have highly potent venoms. They belong to the class Cubozoans. These creatures are found throughout the tropical waters of the world. Most often, they live in shallow water near coral reefs. Some species are very dangerous; others are harmless. The more deadly varieties, which belong to the family Chironexidae, release their venom when threatened. This toxin is called “cubotoxin.”
Not all cubozoan toxinsare the same, but generally they can destroy and poisonhuman cells. If you’re stung by one of these creatures, thesetoxins will be particularlypoisonous to your red blood cellsand your heart.
If you’re stung by a box jellyfish, it’s important to know how to treat yourself. First, wash off the tentacles with plenty of tap water. Then, use vinegar or alcohol to disinfect the area. You might want to use a bandage to keep the area clean. If you don’t have access to these items, put ice packs on the affected areas. Don’t apply pressure to the wound. Instead, let the swelling go down naturally.
You’ll probably feel some pain and discomfort. But most people recover within 24 hours. However, if you experience severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fainting, numbness, weakness, muscle cramps, confusion, coma, seizures, hallucinations, chest pains, irregular heartbeat, paralysis, bleeding from the nose, mouth, eyes, ears, vagina, rectum, anus, or bladder, seek medical attention immediately.
Is a box jellyfish sting deadly?
A recent report published by the Emergency Care Institute of NSW says that the sting of a box jellyfish is potentially fatal. Box jellyfish stings are rare, but when people do get stung, the pain is excruciating. If you’re stung by one of these creatures, here’s what to know about the symptoms and treatment options.
According to the ESI, if 10 percent or less of a person’s skin area is affected by the venom, the sting is generally harmless. However, if 10 percent or greater of a person’s body surface area is covered in stinging cells, the sting could become lethal. This typically occurs in children under 5 years old. There have been no recorded deaths due to box jellyfish stings, according to the ESI.
The most common symptom of a box jellyfish bite is pain that starts in the chest and spreads throughout the body. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, muscle weakness, tingling sensations, difficulty breathing, and numbness.
Once the sting is over, apply ice packs to reduce swelling and relieve pain. You can treat a box jellyfish sting with antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl). Do not use corticosteroids like dexamethasone (Decadron), because they may worsen inflammation.
If you’ve been stung by a box jellyfish, contact your doctor immediately.
How to prevent a box jellyfish sting
The number one way to prevent getting stung by a box jellyfish is to do what it takes to keep yourself away from the poisonous creatures. In most cases, people who have been stung by a box jellies don’t even realize it happened because the pain is so intense.
Box jellyfish are found worldwide in tropical and subtropical coastal waters. They are usually harmless to humans unless they encounter a large concentration of venomous tentacles. Most often, victims are unaware of being stung because the pain is so severe. Box jellyfish typically live near coral reefs, where they feed on plankton. When disturbed, they release clouds of toxic nematocysts into the surrounding area. These tiny hairs contain powerful neurotoxins that cause excruciating pain and muscle cramps.
There are three types of box jellyfish: the sea wasp, the lion’s mane jellyfish, and the Australian box jellyfish. All three species produce similar symptoms.
Box jellyfish sting symptoms
The symptoms from a box jellyfish are often compared to being hit with a bee sting. However, the pain from a box jellyfish is much worse because it causes a deep burn. Box jellyfish stings usually occur when people go into shallow water to cool off during hot weather. They become entangled in a jellyfish net, or in some cases, accidentally step on one while walking along the beach.
Symptoms typically begin within minutes of being stung, and include:
Severe stinging or burning pain;
Red skin wounds that look like “caterpillar track” marks;
Disorientation from pain; and
Painful muscle cramps.
In rare cases, box jellyfish stings can cause cardiac arrest and death.
Box jellyfish sting complications
A box jellyfish sting can lead to a number of serious medical issues. While most people are familiar with the venomous creature known as the sea nettle, it is actually one of many different species of box jellyfish. Box jellyfish stings occur throughout the world, including Australia, Japan, South Africa, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Hawaii, Mexico, Central America, Caribbean Islands, Colombia, Cuba, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Ecuador, Bolivia, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Turks & Caicos Islands, United States, Canada, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, Palau, Marshall Islands, Federated States Of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, Cook Islands, Easter Island, Wallis And Futuna, Niue, Tokelau, Pitcairn Islands, and New Caledonia.
The symptoms associated with box jellyfish stings vary depending on the type of animal involved. There are three main types of box jellyfish: The moon jellyfish, The cubozoa, and The Irukandji. Each of these animals releases a potent neurotoxin that causes pain, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, numbness, tingling sensations, difficulty breathing, and even death.
While some people experience mild symptoms, others may develop life threatening conditions such as cardiac arrest, respiratory failure, and kidney failure. In fact, there have been several fatalities due to box jellyfish stings.
Is Jellyfish Danger to humans
The venomous sting of bees, wasps and hornets can cause severe pain and even death if left untreated. Beekeepers are often stung during work and some people suffer multiple attacks. A recent study found that bee venom contains substances that affect the nervous system and could lead to heart problems. In the worst case scenario, it can result in cardiac arrest.
If you are stung, do not panic. Call emergency services immediately. Do not try to move the victim – he or she needs to remain still and calm. Only apply pressure immobilization bandages to the affected body part.
Do not attempt to suck out the venom yourself. Instead, flood the stung area with water and vinegar. This will help neutralize the venom. You can also use ice packs.