With summer ending and school just beginning, Jellyfish season is in high gear. While fishing at the coast this past weekend I noted that the Jellyfish and Sea Nettle populations are well represented. Higher water temperatures bring larger and more concentrated populations of the relatively harmless Cannonball Jellyfish and venomous Atlantic Sea Nettles, Chrysaora quinquecirrha. There have also been reports of box jellyfish (Chiropsalmus quadrumanus) or four handed jellyfish as they are commonly called in the Myrtle Beach area. Fortunately these jellyfish are not as common as our Cannonball Jellyfish but they can be found in the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean. The sting is venomous and dangerous to humans, especially children.
Although not as dangerous as the Australian Box Jellyfish (hironex fleckeri) which is the most dangerous of all marine animals, these jellies can still pack a very powerful sting and cause scarring which can last for months in some cases. Other effects of their sting include cardiac dysfunction and respiratory depression (slowed breathing). Anti-venom administered within a few hours may relieve the pain somewhat and reduce the severity of other symptoms. In extreme cases where heart function is interrupted, cardiopulmonary resuscitation can be effective if started promptly.
If you are planning a visit to your favorite beach then you might want to consider visiting the Jellyfish Watch not for profit website.