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Box Jellyfish Appearing on Volusia County Beaches

man holding box jellyfish

Holding a box jellyfish very carefully. Photo courtesy Kem McNair.

The last 2 weeks have been rather quiet as far as jellyfish reports are concerned. Usually I get two to five reports a week. But suddenly  a large number of box jellyfish are being reported in the surf off Volusia County, Florida beaches.

Photographer and artist Kem McNair has generously shared the photos he took of the box jellyfish invasion at Ponce Inlet, New Smyrna Beach.

The box jellyfish, also referred to as a sea-wasp, has a very powerful sting. In some areas of the world, the sting of certain species of box jelly can be fatal. This does not seem to be the case in Florida waters, thankfully. But this is one you want to avoid.

image: box jelly on New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Box jelly on New Smyrna Beach. Photo courtesy Kem McNair.

Treating a surfer stung by a box jelly.

Treating a surfer stung by a box jelly. Vinegar is the most effective treatment. Photo courtesy Kem McNair.

the sting of a box jelly on a surfer's arm

Raised red welts are the telltale sign of a jellyfish sting. Photo courtesy Kem McNair.

image: box jellies on New Smyrna Beach, FL

Box jelllies on New Smyrna Beach, FL. Check out those long trailing tentacles. Photo courtesy Kem McNair.

As for the particulars of this invasion, environment writer Dinah Voyles Pulver has an excellent write-up in the Daytona Beach News Journal.

beach warning flags

Always check the beach warning flags before going in the water. A purple flag means that dangerous marine animals have been seen. This usually means the presence of either jellyfish, stingrays or sharks.

I would like to thank Kem McNair for sharing his photos to help educate all of us about box jellies. Kem has been photographing surfers and beaches for decades and has captured some pretty amazing things with his camera. He is the photographer who captured a spinner shark jumping out of the water near two surfers off New Smyrna Beach. He’s also an artist and a musician. Check out his web site:

image: Kem McNair website

As a final note, I will be giving a half-hour slide show presentation on Florida jellyfish at this weekend’s 15th Annual International Seabean Symposium at the Cocoa Beach Public Library (550 North Brevard Ave., Cocoa Beach, FL). My presentation is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Saturday, October 23, 2010. It’s free. 2010 Seabean Symposium schedule (opens as a pdf file).

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