Box Jellyfish Bella Verney

Part 1:

The Box Jellyfish are usually found in the warm coastal waters of Northern Australia and throughout the Indo-Pacific. The box jellyfish are transparent and pale blue in colour which makes them almost invisible in the water. The box jellyfish is one of the fastest marine creators, gliding through the water faster than an Olympic swimmer. The box jelly fish propels it's self forward in a jet like motion reaching between 3- 4 knots. It is well known for its cuboid shape and long tentacles. There are about 15 tentacles on each corner, giving you 800,000 stinging organelles per square centimetre on their tentacles. These organelles are so tiny that they can't be seen with the naked eye, only through a microscope.

These are the two places where the box jellyfish are found during stinger season; the Indo-Pacific and throughout Northern Australia.

The box jellyfish is the most venomous marine creature on the plant, it is so venomous that it can kill you within 2 minutes, if the tentacles of the box jellyfish are of 2 meters or more sting you. Their venom is considered to be among the most deadly in the world, containing toxins that attack the heart, nervous system, and skin cells. It is so overpoweringly painful, human victims have been known to go into shock and drown or even die of heart failure before even reaching shore. The pain of the sting is immediate and there is no pain relief. When stung, the symptoms include vomiting, headaches, agitation, profuse sweating and rapid heart rate, these symptoms could possibly lead to death. If someone is stung by a box jellyfish you should first clear their air ways and check breathing and circulation. The important thing is to keep the heart pumping. Some research suggests that by applying vinegar over the sting, it will deactivate the stinging organelles that haven't yet fired off venom, but if the the organelle has already fired off, don't apply vinegar as it causes it to squeeze out more venom into the body. Survivors of the box jellyfish can experience considerable pain for weeks and often have significant scarring on the skin where the tentacles made contact.

Person stung on the legs by the Box Jellyfish.

Part 2:

This graph shows the total number of jellyfish stings per year, the data was recorded by a tour company from 2008- 2012. From looking at this graph it is indicated that the number of box jellyfish stings has increasingly risen from 2011- 2012! This is very alarming as these extremely high numbers will rise in the future if we don't do anything about it.
This is a labeled diagram of a box jellyfish.
Locals as well as tourists that live or are visiting near the Indo- Pacific or Northern Australia should be educated about the box jellyfish fish. They should be taught the steps of how to prevent getting stung by a box jellyfish and how to treat someone if they get stung. With these simple steps put in place this could help save someone's life.
Box Jellyfish encountment stories

A young Darwin boy has been stung by a box jellyfish in possibly the best circumstances to suffer such a fate — surrounded by lifesavers during a training session.

Brendan Hall, the son of Darwin Surf Lifesaving Club president Ray Hall, was about 50 metres from shore at Casuarina Beach during a Nippers training session last week when he was stung.

"Brendan was very quickly rescued by Josh Woodrow, [who] was nearby on a rescue board," Ray Hall said.

Brendan, 10, was brought to the beach where he was given oxygen, the wound was doused in vinegar and an ambulance was called.

"His heart rate was elevated immediately after the incident but soon stabilised," Mr Hall said.

"In hospital he was given an ECG to check his heart, the results of which were all clear. He was given paracetamol and ibuprofen and his pain diminished to very low levels.

"A rather horrible lunch followed by a lovely hot shower and a bout of hospital bed boredom followed and he was released within two hours of arrival."

Box jellyfish have the most rapidly acting venom of any known creature and are capable of killing a person in under five minutes.

Officially the stinger season in the NT begins on October 1, although stings have been recorded for all months of the year.

Box Jellyfish- The Most Dangerous Sea Creator!

Box Jellyfish- Sail Rock Underwater Video!

Part 3:

To Avoid getting stung by a box jellyfish you should always ensure to avoid the tropical Northern Australian waters as this is where the box jellyfish are known to be a common threat. Before entering the water make sure to ask lifeguards, beach officials, or local residents if you are unsure whether or not the box jellyfish are a danger in the current area. Always make sure to wear a stinger suit during jellyfish season, the suit will help protect your skin and it will also help remove the biological taste so that the jellyfish can’t tell if you’re an animal and won’t fire off venom. Another big tip is to look out for warning signs for the jellyfish, as this is where they would have been spotted by officials. Lastly you should educate yourself and others about the dangers of the box jellyfish and how to prevent an in counter with them . Rebecca Straw states that “during the winter months (June- September) swimmers can enjoy the North Queensland beaches without fear”. Locals should be informed this information so that they can stay safe and alert when entering the jellyfish habitat.

For the future sustainable management on the box jellyfish, I suggest to propose an enclosed swimming area to prevent swimmers from jellyfish stings, this will allow local swimmers as well as tourist to enter the water safely during the high risk season. This will not harm or interrupt the marine specie, it will just keep swimmers safe and have no fear when entering the water.

Along the beach there should be signs on what to do in cases you or someone gets stung by a box jellyfish, there should be step by step procedures on how to treat a sting. Bottles of vinegar should be located in reachable places where you won't have to travel as far, this could include near the life guard tower or even bottles of vinegar attached to poles along the beach. Some beaches already supply vinegar but it would be better if swimmers knew what to do and when and where you should apply the vinegar.

Part 4:

Referencing:

Outback Aussie Travel Guide, 2005- 2016, http://www.outback-australia-travel-secrets.com/box-jellyfish.html

15 Fascinating Facts I Learned about Australian Box Jellyfish, 2016, http://travelnq.com/australian-box-jellyfish/

Pacific Marine Resources Institute, 2012, http://www.pacmares.com/home/pmri-intern-investigates-box-jellyfish-on-saipan/

How to avoid getting stung by jellyfish http://m.wikihow.com/Avoid-Getting-Stung-by-Jellyfish

The box jellyfish: Australia’s other marine killer, Rebecca Straw, May 2005, http://www.jyi.org/issue/the-box-jellyfish-australias-other-marine-killer/

By: Bella Verney

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Bella Verney
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