J for Jellyfish
We all like jelly, right? At least when we were kids. Oh, for American readers, jelly is not jam to us, although I understand it is to you. Jelly for us is a dessert, usually served with ice-cream, especially after you’ve had your tonsils removed.
Jellyfish are amazingly beautiful creatures. Translucent and in some cases colourful, gliding gracefully through the water. Some are also deadly.
Their venom is considered to be among the most deadly in the world, containing toxins that attack the heart, nervous system, and skin cells. It is so overpoweringly painful, human victims have been known to go into shock and drown or die of heart failure before even reaching shore. Survivors can experience considerable pain for weeks and often have significant scarring where the tentacles made contact.
I once worked for a lovely woman who insisted on doing a lot of ocean swimming. Every year there is a Rottnest Channel Swim and Ms X loves to enter. One year she came back with some very nasty injuries from jellyfish invading her wetsuit. The wounds took forever to heal.
While various species of jellyfish are found around the world, many of them harmless, the box jellyfish are specific to the costal areas of the northern regions of Australia and the Indo-Pacific.
I love Darwin. Beautful crystal-blue sea water as far as the eye can see. But deadly to swim in a lot of the time, sadly. Darwin waters are home to our friends, the box jellyfish.
Box jellyfish have developed the ability to move, rather than just drift. According to National Geographic, this species has very sophisticated eyes but scientists are unsure how they process what they see as they have no central nervous system. They just have an amazing ability to attack OUR central nervous system. Perhaps they are jealous?
We also have rather a lot of blue jellyfish. Not as deadly as the box jellyfish, but still rather unpleasant. Thousands of people get stung every year. Unfortunately poor tourists often do not know to get away from them. Bondi Beach see many tourists stung each year. Children can be particularly distressed, of course.
Jellyfish have been around for 600 million years. Clearly they are very good at surviving.
If you plan on visiting Australia or you are a new arrival, just watch out for these pretty little local inhabitants of our waters.
You do NOT want to go home covered in the sort of wounds they can inflict! Just google images for box jellyfish and you are sure to find some pictures you would NOT like to look like!
K will be for Koala – you think they are cuddly, don’t you? You watched the Qantas ads? Wait and see.
Visit http://myatozchallenge.com/find/countries/ to find more countries and articles on the A – Z Challenge.
Related articles on this site: