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Sep 11 2014

Deadly Sea Wasp

The box jellyfish, also known as a box fish and sea wasp has one of the fastest working toxins and is described as the most lethal jellyfish in the world. Each year the sea wasp kills more people than any other marine animal and is said to have enough venom in one fish to kill 60 human adults.

Box Jellyfish Will Kill You


Australia has one of the worst problems with sea wasps as the season for them usually lasts from October to April. Other areas include New Guinea, the Philippines and Vietnam. Hawaii’s leeward shores can generally expect a swarm of sea wasps 9-10 days after a full moon.

The sea wasps or box jellyfish were given their name due to having a bell or cube like form. They are a pale blue transparent color and can grow up to 20 cm and weigh about 4.5 lbs. They have up to 15 tentacles on each corner of the cube which can be up to 3m in length.

The tentacles are covered with stinger cells, also called nematocysts. Each tentacle on a sea wasp can have up to 5000 of these nematocysts. Unlike many other jellyfish, the sea wasp is equipped with four eyes.

Shallow waters are usually where you can find sea wasps so swimming and other water activities are not recommended if you happen to come across one. If swimming is a must, you can avoid being stung if you wear nylon pantyhose or stockings but keep in mind they can also sting your head and neck if you do not keep these areas protected as well.

The extremely potent venom of the sea wasp is stored within the stinger cells which are triggered to release when certain chemicals are sensed rather than by touch. If you touch a sea wasp and your skin didn’t release these chemicals, you will avoid being stung.

Once activated, the stinger cells will immediately inject their toxic venom into the victim. Sea wasps stings can be extremely painful for humans. Once stung, the tentacles may stick to the skin and should never be removed while the fish is still alive as this may increase the damage.

The pain is known to linger for a few weeks and the sting will often leave a scar. Pouring vinegar over the wound is often the best treatment and will generally kill the remaining tentacles making them safe for removal.

The sting from a sea wasp can cause cardio respiratory arrest or arrhythmias so it is highly recommended you seek immediate medical attention for the proper treatment and antidote to the venom.

Box Jellyfish
box fish
potent jellyfish
toxic box fish
cube shaped jellyfish
fatal sting
Effects from a box jellyfish sting
ocean jellyfishsea wasp description