Species - Chironex Fleckeri
Box Jellyfish are pale blue and transparent and bell or cubed shaped with four distinct sides, therefore the name box jellyfish.
Measuring up to 20 cm along each side of the cube or bell, the Box Jellyfish has up to as many as 15 tentacles on each corner which can be 3 metres in length with up to 5,000 nematocysts (stinging cells). The Box Jellyfish shoots itself along up to speeds of 4 knots in a jet-like motion.
They are more numerous after local rain, especially near river and creek outlets and are usually absent when seas are rough. Marine stingers are not usually found over coral, in deep water, or around extensive seagrass or weed beds.
The box jellyfish seem to move towards the shore in calm waters when tide is rising and gather near the mouths of rivers, estuaries and creeks following the rain.
Box Jellyfish feed on small fish and crustaceans.
The season for the Box Jellyfish starts with the onset of the wet across the top of northern Australia, usually around October and lasts until April. Further south along the northern Queensland or northern Western Australia coast the season is usually from November to March. They sometimes appear further south a few weeks beyond the close of the season. The arrival of the Box Jellyfish close to the beach prevents swimming in the Surf unless the beaches have the protective stinger nets installed or you wear a purpose designed swim costume. The Great Barrier Reef is free of the Box Jellyfish through all the seasons.
You have virtually no chance of surviving the venomous sting, unless treated immediately. The pain is so excruciating and overwhelming that you would most likely go into shock and drown before reaching the shore. So don't go swimming alone! Be sure to know the first aid procedures.
First Aid. Never use methylated spirit or alcohol.
Domestic vinegars should be poured liberally over the tentacles to inactivate stinging cells as soon as possible. The tentacles may then be removed. Artificial respiration and cardiac massage may be required.
Where antivenin is unavailable, pressure-immobilisation may be used on limbs after inactivation of stinging cells, while the patient is being transported to the nearest medical centre.