CARYBDEA | 𝑴𝒊𝒄𝒓𝒐𝒄𝒆𝒂𝒏𝒐 𝒆𝒙𝒉𝒊𝒃𝒊𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏
A BOX JELLYFISH IN THE MEDITERRANEAN
Usually, when we hear about box jellyfish, our minds travel to exotic destinations such as Southeast Asia, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, or the Caribbean. The Sea Wasp (Chironex fleckeri) is undoubtedly the most infamous box jellyfish, being one of the deadliest creatures on the planet.
However, the Mediterranean also has its own box jellyfish, a creature known as Carybdea marsupialis. Although considerably less dangerous than the notorious Sea Wasp, it is the most venomous jellyfish in the Mediterranean basin. It is also one of the main culprits for stinging incidents among swimmers, second only to Pelagia noctiluca. Not bad for a jellyfish that barely reaches 30 cm in length (including its tentacles).
Usually, Carybdea is a pelagic species found in the bathyal zone of the water column (at depths ranging from 200 to 2000 meters). Thus, encounters near the shore are not as common. However, occasionally, some individuals venture close to the coastline, especially in the Adriatic Sea, particularly during the night, favoring shallow sandy bottoms.
Its sting is highly painful, and in some cases, when it leads to anaphylactic shock, it can be lethal. Its tentacles tend to adhere to the victim’s limb, and it is crucial to remove them carefully to avoid complications.
Fortunately, its venom has weak points. Ammonia and vinegar can alleviate the pain of the sting. Additionally, its venom is heat-sensitive, meaning that higher temperatures can neutralize its effects. Therefore, it is recommended to treat the affected area, especially shortly after the sting, with hot water (not boiling, just hot enough) or hot sand to counteract the venom’s effects.
Client: Simone Zoccante / Diorama Nature
Software: Adobe Photoshop
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All images © Simone Zoccante 2018-2023. Please do not reproduce without the expressed written consent of Simone Zoccante.