Fact of the Day: Box Jellyfish - Oceana USA
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July 22, 2010

Fact of the Day: Box Jellyfish

BY: MollyH

Today’s FOTD involves a short story. 

A few years ago, I was stung by a jellyfish while taking my first surfing lesson in Australia. It hurt so much that I could hardly walk!  We kept a close watch on my breathing while I was rushed to a pharmacy to get ice and some truly magical anti-sting medication.  (Thank goodness for that stuff!) After looking at my swollen and scarred legs, my instructor guessed that though I never saw my attacker, it was likely a young box jellyfish.   

Adult box jellyfish are some of the most venomous creatures out there so I was lucky that I only got mild stings from one that was not yet fully matured. Box jellies are almost invisible in the water because they are blue-tinted and mostly transparent. Plus, their many stinging tentacles can reach lengths of 10 feet. 

Now here is where it can get a bit tricky: box jellies aren’t exactly true jellyfish. As their name suggests, they are cube-shaped, rather than other jellies, which have a more rounded shape, similar to that of a mushroom cap.

Also, box jellies have the ability to propel themselves through the water, while regular jellyfish simply flow with the currents around them. 

Have you ever been stung by a jellyfish? Tell us your stories!