COCOA BEACH, Florida – A venomous and potentially deadly species of jellyfish are in the water and washing up onshore in Cocoa Beach, Florida on Sunday, August 30, 2020.
This species of box jellyfish are named Chiropsalmus quadrumanus that has been previously collected by Florida Fish and Wildlife staff offshore of Brevard County, Florida.
So it is not completely out of the ordinary for the box jellyfish to appear on Florida’s Space Coast beaches. This particular species is distributed from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina through Florida.
Even though the Atlantic Ocean species of box jellyfish does not pack the extreme potency of the infamous Australian box jellyfish dubbed the sea wasp, the species that wash up on Florida’s shores can still be life-threatening and has a painful sting.
What makes this jellyfish more dangerous to beachgoers than the Portuguese Man of War is its translucent color which makes it harder for swimmers to see the box jellyfish nearby.
Additionally, the box jellyfish’s clear bell could be mistaken for other less-venomous jellyfish that commonly wash up on Florida’s east coast beaches.
The box jellyfish can be identified by its box-shaped bell.
On each of its four corners, there is a stout, hand-like structure where up to nine tentacles dangle.
If you encounter a sting that results in fainting, shortness of breath, chest pain, scratchy throat, or hives that occur on the skin in areas away from the site of the sting, these symptoms may be indicative of a more severe reaction.
You should immediately call 911 and contact the nearest lifeguard if possible.