Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Just When You Thought It Was Safe

With sharks on the decline worldwide, and the seas generally being cleansed of life forms in favor of huge whorls of trash, just as you were starting to feel some confidence about diving into the nearest body of seawater, word comes of a tiny jellyfish that can kill you three times before you realize you're in danger:

The jellyfish's sting can lead to "Irukandji syndrome," a set of symptoms that includes shooting pains in the muscles and chest, vomiting, restlessness and anxiety. Some symptoms can last for more than a week, and the syndrome can occasionally lead to a rapid rise in blood pressure and heart failure.

... The most common Irukandji measures just 0.4 inches in length and has tentacles as thin as a strand of hair that can grow up to 3 feet ... There is no antivenom, and people generally do not realise that they have been stung at first. The initial sting causes little pain, and it may be up to half an hour before a victim starts to feel the effects. [emphasis mine]
There is no antivenom, it says, from which it follows that the only escape from the grim fate this creature (the Irukandji jellyfish) inflicts is avoidance. It might be possible to lure one into latching onto a pressurized air tank and then shoot the air tank with your WWII service rifle, causing the creature to explode in dramatic fashion, but that kind of crap almost never works in so-called real life. I'd say you're going to need a bigger boat, but that wouldn't help -- these creatures routinely gang up and overturn entire cruise ships in their ravenous drive to induce heart seizures in primates, or so it would be perversely interesting to believe.

Take a good long look at the image at the top. If you see this creature while you're out dodging trash in the sea, swim the other way, or better yet, get out of the water.

(via Institute of Jurassic Technology)

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