Box Jellyfish: The World’s Most Poisonous Sea Creature
Box jellyfish (Chironex fleckeri), also known as the sea bee or sea needle, secretes such a powerful toxin that it causes a rapid rise in blood pressure, which can lead to heart compression, death. If sharks have a week of their own, why not jellyfish?
Because the jellyfish doesn’t have a threatening mouth or a fear-inducing dorsal fin? Is it because there wasn’t an ominous film about jellyfish slaughtering beachgoers? Or is it because jellyfish’s tentacles look like gummy bears crushed by spaghetti threads, while many sharks have razor-sharp teeth that can turn into human flesh?
Let’s face it, Jellyfish does not arouse fear, it is just uncomfortable. Sharks can sever a limb while jellyfish stings cause pain and itching. That’s why it’s not very tempting to go to Jellyfish Week.
The Most Poisonous Marine Animals
But what if we told you there is a more menacing species of jellyfish than the most menacing shark. Its scientific name is Cubozoa, it is known as the box jellyfish. Unlike their boring cousins, box jellyfish have powerful venom. How strong is it? Also known as the Australian box jellyfish, the Chironex fleckeri species is so venomous that if one of its 1.8-meter-long tentacles touches you, it is possible to die before reaching the shore. It is considered the most venomous marine animal on the planet.
On the other hand, if you are stung by the Lilliputian Carukia Barnes, you may beg to die because the pain, vomiting, headache, and anxiety it creates is unbearable. Sometimes fluid fills the lungs and if left untreated, death can result. Boxes usually live in their neighborhoods in the Indo-Pacific Ocean and the waters of Northern Australia, but they also live in the waters around Hawaii and the waters of the Gulf Coast and East Coast. Only a handful of species can be found in all three oceans.
Box jellyfish, also known as sea wasps and sea needles, has a class called cnidocytes, which includes 50 identified species. Knidocysts can have up to 15 tentacles with about 5,000 stinging cells. Each of these cells secretes a toxin that can launch microscopic needles at more than 60 kilometers per hour, causing a rapid rise in blood pressure. This toxin causes the victim’s heart to contract and die.
Although there is no official death record, 20 to 40 people die each year from box jellyfish stings in the Philippines alone. Experts say the death rate in the world is higher than reported because doctors often misdiagnose symptoms or misidentify the cause of death. According to research, 43 species of box jellyfish; causes more death and injury than sharks, stingrays, and sea snakes. So if you are bitten by a black widow, your chances of survival are higher.
Box Jellyfish Active Hunt
The box jellyfish is a curious breed. They have two dozen eyes, most of them with lens, cornea, and iris. So they can see. While the anatomy of an ordinary jellyfish fish only allows them to distinguish light from dark, the box jellyfish has a more advanced nervous system than their cousins and can quickly avoid and interact with objects.
The worst part might be this: it can hunt its prey while actively swimming, unlike other jellyfish species that await their food. By opening and closing their umbrella-like bell-shaped heads in a rainstorm, they can move through the water at 6.43 kilometers per hour.
Marine biologist at the University of Hawaii in Manoa and the world’s foremost box jellyfish expert Dr. Angel Yanagihara says that the box jellyfish does not release venom like a rattlesnake. Instead, when a can of jellyfish stings, it releases a “digestive cocktail” that helps it catch and digest its meals. Yanagihara says that in humans, the digestive cocktail acts like molecular nonsense, causing holes in all our cells. A person’s heart can stop in as little as five minutes.
The box jellyfish is among the oldest animal species on the planet, dating back at least 600 million years and surviving several mass extinctions. As with all jellyfish, their numbers are increasing due to warming oceans and oxygen-consuming fertilizers that eventually enter the water. Yanagihara, who has been stung and survived many times by box jellyfish, said, “We are a greater danger to them than the danger they pose to us. ” says.
What should you do if a box jellyfish stings? Yanagihara studied the most common methods such as removing tentacles, rinsing the bite with vinegar, or applying ice. He and his colleagues discovered that these and other common methods make the sting worse. She says applying an antifouling cream like “Sting No More” they developed to treat a can of a jellyfish sting and seeking emergency help is the best solution.