Carybdea marsupialis

Carybdea marsupialis
Box jellyfish

High stinging

Description

It is a high stinging species with important effects on humans. It is recommended to avoid all contact with this jellyfish.

The sting produced by Carybdea marsupialis is usually very painful. The effects are intense but of short duration. Bright red papules may appear on the skin, and in some exceptional cases muscle cramps, vomiting, tiredness and anxiety may be seen.

In case you have been stung by this species:
DO NOT APPLY FRESHWATER, NO PRESSURE BANDAGE, NO ALCOHOL. Seek immediate medical attention if shock or breathing difficulties occur.

1) WASH WITH SEAWATER, DO NOT RUB.
2) WASH WITH COMMERCIAL VINEGAR.
3) USE A PLASTIC CARD TO REMOVE RESIDUALS OF TENTACLES.
4) APPLY HOT PACKS OR HOT WATER IMMERSION (40-45°C) 5-15 minutes.
5) REASSESS PAIN AND REAPPLY HOT PACK IF NECESSARY.
6) IF PAIN PERSISTS, CONSULT YOUR PHARMACIST OR HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL – Ask for analgesic + hydrocortisone preparations (eg. Lidocaine 3-4% + hydrocortisone).

Characteristics

The umbrela is cube-shaped and can measure up to 5 cm. It is translucent with a bluish-white coloration. This species does not present oral arms, it only presents 4 thin whitish tentacles that extend from each side of the umbrela.

Unlike other jellyfish, the group of cubomedusae to which this species belongs, have 24 eyes grouped in 4 structures called ropalias. In each ropalia are 2 simple eyes and 2 compound eyes, very similar to the composition of the human eye, that is to say retina and crystalline.

Frequency

This species is, until now, the only cubozoan found in the Mediterranean Sea, and it can be very abundant in certain areas of the Spanish Mediterranean coast. On the Catalan coast its distribution is very localized and therefore is considered a rare species. Adults are more frequent in summer and fall.

Distribution and Habitat

Cubozoos are found in all oceans, typically in tropical and subtropical regions, in shallow coastal areas. Cubomedusae of the genus Carybdea are widely distributed in tropical Atlantic waters and are found in large populations in the Caribbean Sea, where they are associated with mangrove areas. In the Mediterranean Sea in the last decades it has been detected in several points of the Adriatic Sea, and even have been registered massive appearances in some coastal areas of the Spanish coast.

The preferred habitats of this species are usually sandy substrates, where they are found during the day. At night they migrate to the surface to feed themselves and because they are attracted by light in coastal areas.