Steve Barlow with the 'box jellyfish' like creature caught off Mooloolaba.
Steve Barlow with the 'box jellyfish' like creature caught off Mooloolaba.

Unusual jellyfish survived being speared four times

UPDATE: Steve Barlow has told how he speared the unusual jellyfish he saw swimming at the Mooloolaba boat ramp four times and "thought it was dead".

He then "chucked" the jellyfish in a plastic bag, took it to the Coastguard who took the creature to Sea Life Sunshine Coast.

Three days later, it was confirmed as a type of box jellyfish found in our waters, the morbakka fenneri

And Sea Life Sunshine Coast also told Mr Barlow it was still alive.

"I saw it when we got to the boat ramp and nearly stepped on it," Mr Barlow said.

"There were kids about 20 metres away, jumping in and swimming which is why I thought I had to catch it.

"While trying to pull it out, I ripped most of its tentacles off, the tentacles were really long."

Sea Life Mooloolaba has confirmed Mr Barlow caught the morbakka fenneri, a dangerous type of box jellyfish which can cause irukandji syndrome.

Dr Lisa-ann Gershwin also confirmed it was not the deadly type of box jellyfish, Carukia Barnesi, found up north.

Mr Barlow said he has since learnt the jellyfish died.

"When I rang them to ask if I could have it back they said it was dead and they wanted to do studies on it.

"They said it was the first one someone had caught and brought to them from the Sunshine Coast."

Eimeo Beach closed after this pair were caught in a drag close to shore.
Eimeo Beach closed after this pair were caught in a drag close to shore.

EARLIER: A photographs of the "first box jellyfish caught on the Sunshine Coast" isn't what it seems, but that doesn't mean the creature on the end of the line isn't deadly.

Stinger expert, Dr Lisa-ann Gershwin has identified the see-through sea object with long tentacles caught by Steve Barlow at the Mooloolaba boat ramp as the dangerous irukanji, Morbakka fenneri.

Mr Barlow shared his image of the big jellyfish across social media claiming it was the "first box jelly fish ever caught on the Sunshine Coast, caught at the Mooloolaba boat ramp".

"Lucky I got it, lots of kids around swimming," he wrote.

RELATED: Deadly irukandji confirmed on the Sunshine Coast

"Take a good look when swimming in the rivers on the Sunny Coast now. So what are they saying about global warming?"

Only one week ago, Dr Gershwin identified a photograph sent in by Paul Platt of a strange stinger on his Warana beach as the dangerous morbakka.

She said while they had been known to be in the area for sometime, it was unusual to find them washing up on shores.

And anyone seeing one needed to be very careful, a sting could cause the same kind of toxic reaction as seen in the deadly irukandji up north.

"It can cause irukandji syndrome," Dr Gershwin said.

Roni Blackburn Haines posted this photo of a severe sting on the Sunshine Coast Community Board. Roni says there are a lot of jellyfish in the Noosa River at the moment, although he is unable to say what type they are.
Roni Blackburn Haines posted this photo of a severe sting on the Sunshine Coast Community Board. Roni says there are a lot of jellyfish in the Noosa River at the moment, although he is unable to say what type they are. Roni Blackburn Haines

This syndrome causes an array of systemic symptoms, including severe headache, backache, muscle pains, chest and abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, sweating, anxiety, hypertension and possible heart failure.

She said it was possible to identify Mr Barlow's "walloping" stinger as morbaka by the body shape, which was "taller than wide".

As for his fears it was from global warming, Dr Gershwin said irukandji syndrome had been reported "south of Noosa since the 1890s".

"This was mainly due to morbakka, but may be because of other species."

Her best advice was to steer clear of this type of stinger if seen in the water as scientists still weren't certain what caused some of the morbakka stings to become deadly.

"Most of the time the stings are quite minor," she said.

"But every now and then we have stings that are extremely serious, life support serious.

"It could be the toxicity of the jellyfish is more because it is at its reproductive stage."

She hoped more funding would be put towards research of these types of jellyfish.

She has also devised a handy app, the jellyfish app, which helps identify what stinger is in the water and provides advice on action to be taken if stung.



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