Killers from the seagiugno 5, 2008
It could easily have been the role model for the terrifying creature in the film ‘Alien’.
A perfect toxin-loaded killing machine, there is no creature on earth that can dispatch a human being so easily or so quickly.The box jellyfish is so packed with venom that the briefest of touches can bring agonising death within 180 seconds.
And if comes under sustained attack it responds by sending its compatriots into a super-breeding frenzy in which millions of replacements are created.
Video – Jellyfish invasion – National Geographic – Nature Shock
The jellyfish have a formidable array of genetic equipment to help them survive:
- Four brains that operate competitively in the search for food.
- A highly complex sensory capacity and the ability to distinguish colour.
- The ability to live in inhospitable waters at a depth of up to 10,900 metres.
- A total of 24 eyes with moveable pupils giving them 360-degree visibility.
- Box jellyfish have 6-8ft long tentacles. Just 5-6ft across the body is enough to kill a human in 180 seconds.
- Venom is released on contact – even after it is dead – and each creature has 4000,000,000 venomous fibres.
- Humans who have been stung and survived have needed 30-40 milligrams of morphine. A broken leg requires between 5-10 milligrams.
- Despite decades of study scientists have been unable to unravel the mysteries of its complex venom but it is known to contain 20 different proteins.
The swarms of jellyfish are multiplying in the Western extent of the Pacific ocean and threatening 20,000 miles of coastline off Japan, Irian Jaya, Papua New Guinea and Australia.