Carukia barnesi Click to enlarge image
Irukandji jellyfish, Carukia barnesi Image: Jamie Seymour
© Jamie Seymour

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    barnesi
    Genus
    Carukia
    Family
    Carukiidae
    Order
    Carybdeida
    Class
    Cubozoa
    Subphylum
    Medusozoa
    Phylum
    Cnidaria
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    1 cm - 2 cm bell (diameter), up to 1 m tentacles

Identification

This species is the first discovered of what appears to be a group of Carybdeid sea jellies whose sting causes what is now called Irukandji Syndrome. Transparent, small and usually not observed, the Irukandji is unusual as its bell also features stinging capsules (nematocysts).

Habitat

Solitary and usually occupying deeper offshore waters of northern Australia from Western Australia to Queensland, the Irukandji is swept inshore by winds and currents year-round, more frequently in summer. Found rarely off Sydney and Melbourne.

Other behaviours and adaptations

Not much is known about this species as it is currently under study.

Danger to humans

  1. If stung call emergency services: Mobile phone: 112 Landline: 000
  2. Be prepared to give CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) if needed.
  3. Calm the patient and stop them from rubbing the stung area.
  4. Gently pick off any tentacles with tweezers.
  5. Apply a cold pack or ice wrapped in cloth (such as beach towel) to reduce pain.
  6. Do not wash a Irukandji sting with fresh water.
  7. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.

First aid guidelines were correct at time of publication however these guidelines change over time. For up to date first aid information consult medical professionals such as St John's Ambulance.