- Habitat Regions
- saltwater or marine
- Range depth
- near surface to 10-20 m
- to ft
The Irukandji jellyfish is a carybdeid cubazoan, which tend to be smaller than the other type of cubozoa, the chirodropids. Individuals of this species typically reach 25 mm in diameter, however it has been documented at a diameter of 35 mm. (Goggin, 2002; Underwood and Seymour, 2007; Fenner, 2005; "Great Barrier Reef - Irukandji", 2010; Ávila-Soria, 2011)consists of a transparent bell that is cuboidal in shape that narrows slightly towards the apex. Extending from each of the four corners of the bell is a retractable tentacle that varies in length from 50 to 500 nm. Both the tentacles, as well as the body, are covered in stinging cells called nematocysts, however, the type of stinging cells differs on these two parts of the body. This box jelly also has a primitive and transparent eye on each side of its bell.
- Range length
- 20 to 35 mm
- 0.79 to 1.38 in
- Average length
- 25 mm
- 0.98 in
Cubozoans have a two-stage life cycle consisting of a medusa and polyp. Fertilized eggs develop into swimming planulae, which settle after a few days. The planulae develop into motile feeding polyps, which produce other budding polyps. Polyps take a few months to mature, then begin metamorphosis by resorbing tentacles. Four new tentacles and four rhopalia are formed. When the single juvenile medusa has fully metamorphosed, it contracts and swims away. (Collins, 2000; Ávila-Soria, 2011)
The mating system of the Irukandji jellyfish has yet to be recorded, but in some cubazoan species the adults release both sperm and eggs into the ocean where fertilization will occur. (Goggin, 2002)
At this time there is no known parental care.
- Parental Investment
- no parental involvement
At this time the lifespan ofis not known.
The Irukandji jellyfish has been found to be both fast and agile while swimming. (Goggin, 2002)
- Key Behaviors
Communication and Perception
- Perception Channels
- Primary Diet
- Animal Foods
- other marine invertebrates
Irukandji jellyfish are small and colorless, making them difficult to find. (Ávila-Soria, 2011)
- Anti-predator Adaptations
The role ofin its ecosystem is currently not known.
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
There is no known human benefit from this species except that it serves to be an interesting research specimen because of the symptoms it causes when a person is stung.
- Positive Impacts
- research and education
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
- Negative Impacts
- bites or stings
has not been given special conservation status.
(Goggin, 2002; "Irukandji syndrome", 2009; "A year's experience of Irukandji envenomation in far north Queensland", 1998; "Great Barrier Reef - Irukandji", 2010; Winkel, et al., 2003; Ávila-Soria, 2011)is in the Class Cubozoa, Order Carybdeida, and Family Carybdeidae. was named after Dr. Jack Barnes who was searching for the jellyfish who caused the Irukandji syndrome. He had confirmed that the jellyfish he found did cause Irukandji syndrome by stinging himself, his son, and a surf life saver, sending them all to the hospital, in 1964. It was Hugo Flecker, however, that had named the overall syndrome caused by this jellyfish, the Irukandji syndrome.
Vishal Patel (author), Rutgers University, Selina Ruzi (author), Rutgers University, David V. Howe (editor), Rutgers University.
Living in Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, New Guinea and associated islands.
an animal that mainly eats meat
the nearshore aquatic habitats near a coast, or shoreline.
having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.
animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature
- external fertilization
fertilization takes place outside the female's body
union of egg and spermatozoan
An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
an animal that mainly eats fish
"many forms." A species is polymorphic if its individuals can be divided into two or more easily recognized groups, based on structure, color, or other similar characteristics. The term only applies when the distinct groups can be found in the same area; graded or clinal variation throughout the range of a species (e.g. a north-to-south decrease in size) is not polymorphism. Polymorphic characteristics may be inherited because the differences have a genetic basis, or they may be the result of environmental influences. We do not consider sexual differences (i.e. sexual dimorphism), seasonal changes (e.g. change in fur color), or age-related changes to be polymorphic. Polymorphism in a local population can be an adaptation to prevent density-dependent predation, where predators preferentially prey on the most common morph.
- radial symmetry
a form of body symmetry in which the parts of an animal are arranged concentrically around a central oral/aboral axis and more than one imaginary plane through this axis results in halves that are mirror-images of each other. Examples are cnidarians (Phylum Cnidaria, jellyfish, anemones, and corals).
structure produced by the calcium carbonate skeletons of coral polyps (Class Anthozoa). Coral reefs are found in warm, shallow oceans with low nutrient availability. They form the basis for rich communities of other invertebrates, plants, fish, and protists. The polyps live only on the reef surface. Because they depend on symbiotic photosynthetic algae, zooxanthellae, they cannot live where light does not penetrate.
- saltwater or marine
mainly lives in oceans, seas, or other bodies of salt water.
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
an animal which has an organ capable of injecting a poisonous substance into a wound (for example, scorpions, jellyfish, and rattlesnakes).
uses sight to communicate
Australian Medical Publishing Company. 1998. A year's experience of Irukandji envenomation in far north Queensland. The Medical Journal of Australia, 169: 638-641. Accessed June 10, 2011 at http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/xmas98/little/little.html#footadd10.
Getaway Guide. 2010. "Great Barrier Reef - Irukandji" (On-line). Barrier Reef Australia. Accessed June 10, 2011 at http://www.barrierreefaustralia.com/the-great-barrier-reef/irukandji.htm.
2009. "Irukandji syndrome" (On-line). Dr. Luciano Schiazza. Accessed June 10, 2011 at http://www.lucianoschiazza.it/Documenti%20new/Sindrome_irukandji_eng.html.
Barnett, F., D. Durrheim, R. Speare, R. Muller. 2005. Management of Irukandji syndrome in northern Australia. Rural and Remote Health, 5: 369. Accessed June 06, 2011 at http://www.rrh.org.au/articles/subviewnew.asp?ArticleID=369.
Carrette, T., J. Seymour. 2002. "James Cook University Tropical Australian Stinger Research Unit" (On-line pdf). Accessed June 10, 2011 at http://www.jcu.edu.au/interest/stingers/irukandji%20brochure1.pdf.
Collins, A. 2000. "Cubozoa: Life history and ecology" (On-line). University of California Museum of Paleontology. Accessed June 11, 2011 at http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/cnidaria/cubozoalh.html.
Collins, A. 2009. Evolution of box jellyfish (Cnidaria: Cubozoa), a group of highly toxic invertebrates. Proceedings of the Royal Society, 277 (1680): 493-501. Accessed June 10, 2011 at http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/277/1680/493.full.
Fenner, P. 2005. Dangerous Australian box jellyfish. South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society Journal, 35: 76-83. Accessed June 10, 2011 at http://gtuem.praesentiert-ihnen.de/tools/literaturdb/project2/pdf/SPU03088.
Goggin, L. 2002. "Irukandji Jellyfish" (On-line). CRC Reef Research Centre. Accessed June 10, 2011 at http://www.reef.crc.org.au/discover/plantsanimals/irukandji/index.html.
Underwood, A., J. Seymour. 2007. Venom ontogeny, diet and morphology in Carukia barnesi, a species of Australian box jellyfish that causes Irukandji syndrome. Toxicon, 49 (8): 1073-1082. Accessed June 06, 2011 at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S004101010700044X.
Winkel, K., G. Hawdon, P. Fenner, L. Gershwin, A. Collins, J. Tibballs. 2003. Jellyfish antivenoms: past, present, and future. Journal of Toxicology, 22: 115-127. Accessed June 10, 2011 at http://www.ecolevol.de/pubs/2003/Winkel-etal_JTox2003.
Ávila-Soria, G. 2011. "Molecular characterization of Carukia barnesi and Malo kingi, Cnidaria; Cubozoa; Carybdeidae" (On-line pdf). Research online at JCU. Accessed December 11, 2010 at http://eprints.jcu.edu.au/8218/.