We have had a few reports around The Bahamas of box jellyfish known as Sea Wasps (now Alatina sp, but formerly Carybdea alata) showing up. The Caribbean Sea Wasp has 4 long tentacles, one on each side of its cube shaped bell. Typically, there will be blooms of Sea Wasps (as a result of spawning) around 10 days after a full moon. At this time they are more likely to be concentrated in protected areas. Thus far, we know of sightings near Graham’s Harbor near the public dock in San Salvador and at Low Place on Man-O-War.
Box Jellyfish (class Cubozoa) are composed of about 50 species, all of which vary in levels of toxicity. Fortunately, the species found throughout the Caribbean is not nearly as lethal as one species of box jellyfish found in the Pacific (Chironex fleckeri). An interesting feature of this group is the development of eye spots- these jellyfish are actually able to move away from darker colored objects.
Although stings from the Sea Wasp in the Caribbean are not traditionally lethal, stings have been known to elicit Irukandji-like syndrome- severe low back pain, limb cramping, nausea, headache, restlessness and “a feeling of impending doom”. Though this syndrome sounds awful, it is not life threatening and is typically rare in Alatina sp stings. If you are stung by a Sea Wasp, it is best to immerse the affected area in hot water. If symptoms or pain persist seek medical attention.
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Cegolon, L., Heymann, W. C., Lange, J. H., & Mastrangelo, G. (2013). Jellyfish Stings and Their Management: A Review. Marine Drugs, 11(2), 523–550. doi:10.3390/md11020523
Carrette, T., Straehler-Pohl, I., Seymour, J. 2014. Early life history of Altaina cr. moseri population from Australia and Hawaii with implications for taxonomy (Cubozoa: Carybdeia, Alatinidae). Plos One. 9(1). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0084377