Lions Marine Research Trust Marine Stinger Resources

Marine Stinger Resources

During the tropical summer months, around November to May, stingers (including the big box jellyfish and the Irukandji jellyfish) may be present in Queensland waters but don't panic, there are plenty of resources available to help you.

Did you know that jellyfish are not even fish? To be correct we should call them "sea jellies", they fall into a collective group called cnidarians, of which there are more than 10,000 species, including corals, sea anemones and hydroids (polyps). The Australian Geographic's article "What exactly are jellyfish, anyway?" is a great way to get started on understanding the many different types of jellyfish.

National Geographic's video "Jellyfish 101" covers the basics about jellyfish too.

If you would like to read more about the wonderful world of sea jellies, check out National Geographic's article on jellyfish reproduction in their October 2018 edition.

First Aid for jellyfish stings can be confusing and controversial and many people are working on finding better solutions, including Australian Lions Stinger Research and the JCU eduQuarium team.

Claims for jellyfish sting remedies range from ice water to urine, but if you get stung by a box jellyfish (Chironex), continued CPR and transfer to a hospital as soon as possible is the only remedy that can save your life.

Surf Life Saving Queensland provide fact sheets on all stinger species found in Queensland including:

  • Carybdea (aka Jimble)
  • Catostylus (aka Blubber)
  • Chironex fleckeri (box jellyfish)
  • Cyanea (aka Hair jelly, Snottie, Lion’s mane)
  • Irukandji
  • Morbakka (Fire Jelly, Moreton Bay Stinger)
  • Pelagia (Little Mauve Stinger)
  • Physalia (Bluebottle, Portuguese man-o-war, Pacific man-o-war)

Surf Life Saving North Queensland provides regular updates on closed beaches in the Cairns area with maps showing the location of stinger enclosures.

As with most things prevention is better than cure and the easiest thing you can do is to cover your body with a stinger suit and swim within the stinger enclosures at a safe beach.

To minimise the risk of being stung by potentially dangerous jellyfish (marine stingers), follow these simple tips from Surf Life Saving North Queensland:

  • Always swim at patrolled beaches and between the red and yellow flags;
  • Look for, and observe, warning signs;
  • Where provided, swim in stinger-resistant enclosures, wear protective clothing and do not swim when beaches are closed.

JCU's eduQuarium have compiled a comprehensive list of research based around marine stingers. Check out the relevant publications for further reading.