Hawaii’s Dangerous Sea Creature

What are you afraid of that swims in the ocean?

If I told you a translucent blob with long flowing ribbon-like tentacles could kill you would you believe me?

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A Box Jellyfish on Kaimana Beach nine days after a full moon

A sting from a Chironex Fleckeri Box Jellyfish can stop your heart in just five minutes but it looks harmless. That species of jellyfish isn’t in Hawaii, but it’s cousin the Alatina Box Jellyfish is.

University of Hawaii Manoa Researcher Angel Yanagihara has been studying Box Jellyfish for two decades.  She became interested in the jellyfish after falling victim to its sting. She shares her story on Wavelengths.

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Box Jellyfish collected by Angel Yanagihara, PhD at Kaimana Beach, Waikiki

Watch Angel’s Educational Video The Science of the Sting

Learn more about her treatment: Sting No More

Check the Waikiki Aquarium’s Box Jellyfish Calendar

Fun facts about the Box Jellyfish:

  • A Box Jellyfish has a total of 24 eyes
    • (Six eyes on each of its four eye stocks)
  • It has up to 60 tentacles and each tentacle has thousands of stinging cells (yikes!)*
  • Its attracted to lights of every color but responds to blue light differently than other colors of light *

*Other Sources: Jellyfish A Natural History, Lisa Ann Gershwin pg 50

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