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The most lethal living being on Earth

This is the sea wasp or box jellyfish, Chironex fleckeri, a kind of jellyfish of the Cubozoa class:

  • It inhabits shallow, turbid oceanic waters of Australia and Southeast Asia (although during the breeding season and polyp phase they can be found in rivers).

  • The bell (“body”) is cube-shaped and translucid (Φ15-24cm). From each of the 4 pedals (“corners”) can arise up to 15 tentacles and can grow up to 3 m long.

  • Each tentacle has millions of cnidocytes, the stinging cells that inject the lethal venom.

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Chironex fleckeri, the most lethal organism on Earth. Medusas.org
  • It has photoreceptors, i.e. cells that are capable of detecting variations in light.

  • Due to its lethality, the only known predator is the green turtle (Chelonia mydas) thanks to its thick skin, that protects it against the venom.

  • These jellyfish have killed 60 people in the last century, mostly children and young people.

  • The symptoms of a sting are extreme pain, breath shortage and purple weals… Depending on the amount of venom injected the symptoms may disappear weeks later or may lead to a heart embolism.

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The sting of a wasp jellyfish is extremely painful and dangerous. Litfl
  • It is estimated that all the venom from a single jellyfish could take the lives of about 50 people.

  • An antidote to the venom has been developed and it can save lives if it is administered quickly.

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