Floating killer in our waters

Source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2006/12/13/nation/16236567&sec=nation

Wednesday December 13, 2006

Floating killer in our waters

By TAN SIN CHOW

PENANG: Unknown to many swimmers, a species of the deadly box jellyfish family have been found lurking in the waters of several popular beaches in the country.

Swimmers and fishing enthusiasts have spotted such jellyfish in Pulau Langkawi, Tanjung Bungah, Pantai Kerachut and in east Malaysia.

The sting of this invertebrate can kill children within a few minutes, but its effect on adults is not known yet.

An expatriate sighted such a jellyfish when he was with his family in Pantai Kerachut last month.

I was in a boat when I was drawn to the unusual shape of the jellyfish, about four metres from the shore. It has the shape of a box bobbing in the water, he said, adding his friends had also spotted similar jellyfish in Tanjung Bungah.

The jellyfish is pale blue in colour. The one I spotted looked similar to the box jellyfish I found on the Net, he said.

He suggested that the authorities put up signboards at beaches to warn swimmers of the presence of these jellyfish.

The expatriate said the eight-year-old South Korean who died on Nov 20 after being stung by a jellyfish in Pulau Sapi, Sabah could have been a victim of the deadly jellyfish.

Avid diver and underwater photographer Dr Noel Yeoh, who has almost 30 years of diving experience, attributed the jellyfish menace to pollution and the rainy season.

He said rubbish thrown into the sea could fuel the growth of algae which is a source of food for jellyfish.

The authorities should set up a team to clean up Penangs popular beaches but the public should also play their role by not littering, he said.

Yeoh added that he had come across the box jellyfish in coastal areas in east Malaysia and Pulau Langkawi.

These bell or cubed shaped jellyfish are pale blue and transparent and have four distinct sides.

Its sting is excruciating and overwhelming, and one will most likely go into shock and drown, he said.

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) School of Biological Sciences deputy dean Prof Dr Zulfigar Yasin, shown a picture of the jellyfish found in Pantai Kerachut, said he believed that it was a species of the box jellyfish family.

Dr Zulfigar, who is also the director of the USM Marine and Coastal Study Centre, said the centre was discussing with the Penang National Park on joint research on this jellyfish.

We want to know its habitat, and where and when these jellyfish are found in Penang waters, he said.

He said they hoped to find a solution on what they could do to protect tourists and promote marine tourism.

He added that the jellyfish could be found in abundance from the end of December until February.

Source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2006/12/13/nation/16243798&sec=nation

Wednesday December 13, 2006

This pale blue bell rings death

THE box jellyfish is pale blue and transparent and has the shape of a bell or cube. It has four distinct sides, thus its name.

Considered the most venomous marine creature, it has killed more people than stonefish, sharks and crocodiles.

In Australia, the box jellyfish is responsible for at least one death every year.

It is found in shallow waters off the shores in northern Australia, the Indo-Pacific region, Malaysia and the Philippines.

These animals have chosen a strategy of passive hunting: they just wait for the prey to bump into their tentacles.

The box jellyfish can weigh as much as 2kg. The tentacles are armed with up to 5,000 nematocysts, or stinging cells which could be fatal to anyone who come into contact with it.

Domestic vinegar (never methylated spirits) should be poured over the tentacles to inactivate the nematocysts.

The application of vinegar is not to decrease pain or diminish the effects of the venom, it will only stop further discharging of nematocysts. Urine does not work on the box jellyfish.

In case of respiratory or cardiovascular failure, basic life support such as artificial respiration and cardiac massage is necessary.

Early administration of antivenom will reduce pain and decrease scarring. Ice packs will help soothe pain.

The Box JellyFish.

Tu bukan tandanya tsunami bakal melanda lagi ker… :?