Aside from looking majestic and elegant in the water, and then a bit of a mess if they end up on dry land, the box jellyfish has a deadly secret ‘ one sting and you could be in big trouble indeed. So-called due to its box shaped bell, this type of jellyfish has a series of short ‘pedaliums’ and hollow tentacles hanging from each of the four corners of its box, allowing it to move faster than most other species of jellyfish.
Most commonly found in the tropical regions of the Indo-Pacific Ocean, these jellyfish can also however be found in the waters of many of the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Often touted as ‘the world’s most venomous creature’, the box jellyfish has killed 79 people in Australia alone (since records began), with around 20-40 box jellyfish related deaths each year in the Philippines.
The box jellyfish kills by venom, which passes through the skin and causes all of the cells of the body to become porous, allowing the delicate balance of fluids with the body to tip dangerously. This causes potassium to leak from the cellular fluid to the blood, causing a condition called hyperleukaemia which then causes the cardiovascular system to collapse and can lead to death within just two to five minutes.