Beware: Jellyfish!

Starting today, Box jellyfish may be seen in the waters and on the beaches of Waikīkī. Check out this link to see a Video of Box Jellyfish Swimming. The jellyfish will probably be in Waikīkī for a few days, so I recommend avoiding the waters and watch out where you step on the beach! Luckily, the box jellyfish have a predictable schedule as they usually venture nearshore about 8-10 days after the full moon. You can plan your beach, surf and snorkel days by going to the Waikiki Aquarium’s Calendar for Box Jellyfish.

Nematocyst firing

Box jellyfish are marine invertebrates in the phylum Cnidaria. Cnidarians include corals and sea anemones. All cnidarians have tentacles lined with stinging cells, called nematocysts, that fire little barbed threads coated in a toxin. These nematocysts, once triggered by touch, are used to capture prey or as a defense system. When you are stung by a jellyfish, you are actually feeling all of the tiny nematocysts firing the barbs into your skin. Once stung, it is recommended to rinse the area with seawater and then apply vinegar or meat tenderizer to neutralize the venom from the barb.

Click here to read an article about research being conducted with box jellies collected in Waikīkī by Angel Yanagihara and her team at the Pacific Cnidaria Research Lab based at the University of Hawai’i.

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