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Poisonous animals
Cnidarians (Jellyfish, Corals and Anemones)
Venomous fish
Hymenopterans (Bees, Wasps and Ants)
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Various jellyfishes that can cause stings in humans


1. Scyphozoa


A. Coronatae

  1. Linuche sp.
  2. Nausithoe sp.

B. Semaeostomeae

  1. Aurelia sp. 
  2. Chrysaora sp. 
  3. Cyanea sp. 
  4. Pelagia sp. 

C. Rhizostomae

  1. Acrimitoides sp. 
  2. Cassiopeia sp.
  3. Catostylus sp. 
  4. Lobonema sp.
  5. Rhizostoma sp.
  6. Stomolphus sp.
  7. Thysanostoma sp.
  8. Versurgia sp.


2. Cubozoa


A. Caribdeidae

  1. Carybdea sp.
  2. Tamoya sp.

B. Chirodropidae

  1. Chirodropus sp.



Common names

1. Scyphozoa (jellyfishes)


A. Stinging algae, Tiefseequallen


B. Scalloped medusae, Fahnenquallen

  1. Common jellyfish, Ohrenquallen, A. aurita: Moon jelly, Saucer blubber
  2. Sea nettles, Kompaßquallen
  3. Hair jellyfish, Hairy stinger, Haarquallen, Riesenquallen, Nesselquallen
  4. Mauve blubbers, Leuchtquallen, Aguas vivas


C. Wurzelmundquallen
  2. Upside-down jellyfish
  3. Blubbers
  5. Cabbage blebs, Lungenquallen, Blumenkohlquallen

  7. Zigarrenquallen

  8. Furchenquallen


2. Cubozoa (Box jellyfishes)


A. 1. Carybdea rastoni: Jimble, Sea wasp, Lantern medusa

     2. Tamoya virulenta: Morbakka


1. Scyphozoa


A:     1. Tropical oceans,  2. all warm seas


B:     2, 3 and 4: All warm seas


C:     1. A. purpurus in the coastal waters of the Philippines 
         2. All warm seas 
         3. C. mosaicus on the east coast of Australia

         4. L. smithi in the coastal waters of the Philippines 
         5. Atlantic and Mediterranean

         6. Tropical and subtropical Atlantic and Pacific

         7. Tropical and subtropical Pacific

         8. Tropical Pacific


2. Cubozoa


A:     1. Tropical Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans, as well as the Mediterranean

         2. Tropical Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans


B:      1. East Atlantic


Fig. 4.15 Cyanea capillata


1. Scyphozoa

The class of Scyphozoa comprises approx. 130 different species.


A: Members of this family are typical deep-sea jellyfish and thus unlikely to be encountered by humans.


B: These are generally species that live in open water. However, there may be mass occurrences in coastal areas at certain times. Cyanea species possess a flat bell with a large number of thread-like tentacles. Cyanea capillata (Fig. 4.15), with a bell diameter of over 2 m, is the largest known jellyfish.


C: Rhizostomae do not have true tentacles, but rather root-like outgrowths from the bell. Cassiopeia have a peculiar way of eating, in that they lie with the opening of their bell towards the surface of the water and thus catch food particles as they float down.


2. Cubozoa (see also Chironex fleckeri, Chiropsalmus quadrigatus and Chiropsalmus quadrumanus, as well as Carukia barnesi)

The class of box jellyfish comprises around 20 species.

The transparent bell is in the shape of a cube, with rounded edges. One or more tentacles are attached to each of the 4 lower corners of the bell, on so-called pedalia. With their rhopalia, box jellyfish possess the most complex sensory organs of all the jellyfish. These rhopalia are located on the edge of the bell and contain eyes with a true lens, retina and vitreous body. With the use of these organs they can recognise large objects.


There have been no known fatalities due to the genera listed above. Severe systemic envenoming is very much an exception, but nonetheless stings can be extremely painful, heal slowly and leave permanent scarring.

A mass occurrence of such jellyfish may result in marine waters being filled with jellyfish at certain times and in certain places and affect thousands of holiday-goers. In the summer months of 1977–1979 a mass occurrence of Pelagia noctiluca was observed in the northern Adriatic. It is estimated that in the summer of 1978 alone, 250,000 people were stung on the northern coast of former Yugoslavia (Maretic et al. 1980). In recent years, such mass occurrences of Pelagia noctiluca have been observed more frequently on the European coasts of the Mediterranean, and this has harmed tourism in these areas to such an extent that in certain beach resorts in southern France, jellyfish nets are being used to create safe bathing areas, in the style of Australian beaches.

Literature (biological)

Halstead 1988, Heeger 1998, Southcott 1987d, Storch and Welsch 1997, Williamson et al. 1996

Newscientist.com. Jellyfish swarms

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