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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Beautiful and Dangerous



How can something this simple and beautiful ....99 percent water...be so complex and dangerous?

Immediate First Aid Advice:

Box jellyfish
(Carybdea alata):

1. Douse or spray the sting liberally with vinegar.

2. Pluck off any visible tentacles carefully - try not to use your fingers, use your fins, a towel, etc. instead to brush them away.

3. For severe pain, try applying a hot pack. If heat makes the sting feel worse, try applying a cold pack or ice to the sting.

4. Get medical help for severe reactions.IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION MAY BE REQUIRED as their stinging may bring aboutanaphylactic shock.



LEI

Jellyfish are any planktonic marine member of a group of invertebrate animals composed of about 200 described species of the class Scyphozoa(phylum Cnidaria) or of the class Cubozoa, which was formerly considered an order of Scyphozoa. The term, jellyfish, is also often used in referring to certain other cnidarians that have a medusoid (saucer- or bell-shaped) body form, such as hydromedusae, the siphonophores (including even thePortuguese man-of-war which technically is not a jellyfish but a pelagic colonial hydroid or hydrozoan), as well as unrelated forms such as salps and comb jellies.

Seventy of the 200 species of jellyfish are known to sting - causing a range of reactions in humans: from mild skin irritation to death. The sting of the sea wasp, Chironex fleckeri, is so toxic that it can cause death. Some even call this creature the "deadliest animal on earth."

Free-swimming Scyphozoan medusae jellyfish occur in all oceans and include the commonly familiar disk shaped animals that are often found floating along the shoreline. The bodies of most range in diameter from about 1 to 16 inches (2 to 40 centimeters); however, some species are considerably larger with diameters of up to 6 1/2 feet (2 meters). The bulk of the Scyphozoan medusae jellyfish consists of almost ninety-nine percent water as a result of the composition of the jelly that forms the bulk in nearly all species.

Like their close relatives, sea anemones and corals, jellyfish have no head, no heart and no skeleton. Jellyfish don't have brains - because their bodies are organized differently from ours. Most animals we encounter have what's called bilateral - or two-sided - symmetry. They have a head end and a tail end. In the head end, they have a concentration of nerve cells -- where these cells are complex, we call it a brain.

The box jellyfish, Tripedalia cystophora, a cubozoan, is a bizarre, highly poisonous predator . "These are fantastic creatures with 24 eyes, four parallel brains and 60 arseholes," says Dan Nilsson, a vision expert from the University of Lund in Sweden. (Source: New Scientist, 8 November 2003, p. 34)


Dan

4 comments:

J Cosmo Newbery said...

Beautiful photos - the only way to come up close to one of those fellas.

DawnTreader said...

And how did you take the photos?!

Cynthia L. H. said...

Wow...so bizarre that you posted this and I just returned from the Florida beaches...a vacation with my daughter's family...anyway, little Annabelle was playing in the ocean and was stung by a jellyfish! It started at her shoulder and evidently wrapped the tentacles down her side to the calf of her leg, then her ankle. Her screams pierced what had been splashing and laughter. Thank goodness, a friend who lives in the area knew to rub sand on the skin where the stings were. We all grabbed hands full of sand and began rubbing it on her...it removed the remaining tentacles (that were invisible to us.) There were bright red splotches and weird white lines and dots on her skin.) The stinging ended quickly. She was very shaken, but quite the tough chick. We talked about how she would have a great story to tell of the beach and being much braver than her Grandma, even went back in the water the next day! At the end of the week, the white marks were still there...not really scars, but marked evidence that a jellyfish wreaked a little bit of havoc....

shabby girl said...

I don't know if you saw my post about scattering my mom's ashes in Monterey Bay in CA. When we actually poured the ashes, a whole bunch of jellies came to the surface, and sea lions jumped out of the water. It was quite a lovely send off in my mind!
Gorgeous photos my friend!