Life of Sea |Irukandji Jellyfish (Carukia barnesi) | Irukandji jellyfishis a smalland highlypoisonousjellyfishfound nearAustralia.Stabbingmay causeIrukandjisyndrome, andso thisspecies iscommonly known asIrukandji jellyfish, althoughthis namecan not bedistinguished fromotherIrukandjijellyfish, likeMaloKingi. UnlikeBox Jellyfish, Irukandji jellyfisharefoundmostlyin the deeperwaters ofthe reef, although theyaresweptalong the coastbythe prevailingcurrents. Divers andsnorkelersare particularly atrisk.
Species: C. barnesi
Each summer, more than sixtypeople arehospitalized withIrukandjisyndrome,. Thefirststingof the jellyfishis usually notvery painful. But about5-45(usually 30)minutesafterasting, thepersonbegins tohaveaseverebackacheor headacheandshooting pains intheir muscles, chest andabdomen. They may alsofeel sick, anxious, restless andvomit. In rarecases, the victimsufferspulmonaryedema(fluid in the lungs), which can be fatalif not treated.
Irukandji jellyfishhasaretractabletentacle, from50 to 500mm long, hanging fromeach of thefourcorners ofthe bell.rukandjiare tinyjellyfishwithabellabout 5millimeters to 10 mmwide andfour longtentacles, varyingin length froma fewcentimeters to1 meter inlength. The stingersingroups, asrings oftinyred dotsaround theringand along thetentacles.
Very little isknown aboutthe life cycleofIrukandjijellyfishandpoison. This is partly becausethey are too smalland fragile,requiring specialtreatment, and management. The poisonis verypowerful and100timesas powerfulas that ofa cobraand 1000timesas powerfulas that ofatarantula. Researcherssuspect thatthe poisonsuch apotentialpropertyto enable itto respond quicklyto stunits prey, whichconsists of smallandfast fish.
InJanuary 2002, atouristswimmingnearHamiltonIsland in theWhitsundaysdied after beingstung byajellyfish. His deathwas reportedbythe pressto be causedbyanIrukandji jellyfish. The 58-year-old man hadapre-existingmedical condition thatmadeafatalstabbingjellyfish. He hadavalvereplaced andtookwarfare tothinhis blood. After hewasstung, his blood pressureincreased, leading to a strokethat leads tohis death.
Thejellyfishthatstungthe manwas notcollected andits identityremains amystery. As withmostdangers, ifthe proper precautionsandbe aware ofthem, you can take stepsto minimize the impactof the riskto a minimumand stillenjoy allthe wonderfulbeauty ofthe reef. Thespecialistdive operatorsin Cairnswill take allnecessary precautionsto ensurea safeandrewardingda on the reef.