Box Jellyfish Venom: Biological Armageddon

Venom from box jellyfish of the Chironex-type and Irukandji are insanely toxic. The former is known as the most venomous animal on the planet, while the latter causes prolonged pain and suffering that is almost incomparable.

It's been said that while a large box jellyfish contains enough venom to kill 60 people, it can kill one in a minute or two; while the smaller Irukandji box jellyfish at only 10mm in size contains venom around 100 times more potent than a cobra and 1000 times more potent than a tarantula.

These deadly box jellyfish live in the seas of northern Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Cambodia and other countries in South-East Asia.

This Youtube video with Assoc. Professor Jamie Seymour from James Cook University in tropical north Australia was made for The Nature Of Science series and demonstrates just how potent box jellyfish venom actually is.

The cane toad being experimented on is one of a family of zillions of these invasive pests (introduced from South and Central America) causing widespread damage to northern Australia's ecosystem. While the footage is gory if you're a bit squeamish, rest assured that this poisonous toad if left in the wild would either potentially kill native Australian animals, be splattered across a remote highway or end up swinging a club on a tourist's trophy room shelf.

Recommended Viewing:

Fast-forward to 2:50 minutes to view the segment on Irukandji and to 4:00 minutes to see just how quick and effective Chironex-type box jellyfish venom is at stopping a heart from beating and killing its victim. Or watch the full 9:45 minutes and also learn about stonefish and snakes.

Clear evidence as to why one needs to be aware and take care when in tropical seas, and also why it's so important to provide rapid treatment if a sting should occur.

Further Reading:


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