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Jelly To Die For


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Jelly to die for

There's more to deadly box jellyfish than just a box of jelly.

Living along the Kimberley and North West coast in the wet season can be quite torturous.

It gets really hot, there are beautiful beaches and a clear blue sea, but they say you can’t swim because of stingers.

But what’s so special about a blob of jelly floating around in the sea?

Dr Jamie Seymour is the Director of the Tropical Australian Stinger Research Unit at James Cook University and he's been travelling northern Australia to answer that very question.

What he's found will make you think twice about humble jellyfish.

Box jellies have 24 eyes positioned around there box-shaped bell, and they're not just simple eyes for telling if it is night or day.

They have lenses and retinas for forming an image, which allows them to actively hunt for fish.

Dr Seymour says the idea that box jellies just float around bumping into things is the biggest misconception about them.

They can swim at three to four knots, which is faster than most people.

And if you are standing still in the water then they can see you and will swim around you.

Most stings happen when people crash into a box jelly, not the other way around.

And if that happens you're in big trouble. Box jellies carry the most toxic poison known to the animal kingdom.

Dr Seymour compared the toxicity to taipan venom and found the box jelly left it for dead.

That's why if you are swimming in tropical waters in the summertime you're mad not to wear a stinger suit and have vinegar handy.

The vinegar won't help the searing pain. But if you apply it quickly it can stop as much as 80 per cent of the venom from entering your body.

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