Monday, February 2, 2009


The Irukandji Jellyfish

Yet again, I must stop and appreciate the marvelous life found in our oceans. Last night, I happened upon a Discovery Channel documentary about the irukandji jellyfish, found in the waters near Australia. This tiny, inconspicuous, fragile little jelly packs a punch: a sting from one will likely leave you in the hospital with the aptly named "irukandji syndrome" which consists of excruciating cramps, nausea, vomiting, headaches, restlessness, severe body pains, and high heart rate and blood pressure. Like many other wonders of nature (such as the hunting patterns of a cougar), the surprisingly powerful sting from this jellyfish is something that I prefer to admire from afar.

But watching jellyfish, that is another story altogether! Watching jellyfish can be hypnotic. There is just something about the shape, the drifting swim, the translucence, and the incredible colors of a jellyfish that is absolutely mesmerizing.
There are many different types of jellyfish swimming around in our oceans, and while we do not have the irukandji to worry about on the North Island, we do not have to travel to Australia to look at (or get stung by) a jellyfish. A very common type of jellyfish in our area is the cyanea capillata, also known as the "lion's mane jellyfish". Recently, there has been an explosion of these jellyfish just off the coast of Vancouver Island.

An article in the Province states that lion's mane jellies have been washing up on the coast as far up as Comox, but some readers have mentioned seeing them in Campbell River as well.

Are you from the North Island? Where have you noticed jellyfish washing up on the beach?


  1. My husband and I run a charter boat (Maple Leaf) on occasion. Last fall (mid-October) we were operating in the Broughton area and noticed a few Cyanea washed up on the beach. Can't recall the exact location, but we both remember talking about them. Might have been in Viner (on Gilford Is.) or in Bond Sound, as we went for walks in both places.

  2. Hi. my name is Erin and my family and i just took a vacation on Vancouver island. we were in Parksville BC around Qualicum beach BC. While we were there we saw three of the same types of jelly fish washed up on shore. one my cousin and i tried to save, we took it into deeper water but the others look and felt more dead and dried. the jelly fish was shaped like a star, it was dark red in the middle, and on the ends it was clear. there was a small circle in the middle of the underside with things like an inch to two inch long tenticle like things but that was the only place the tenticle things were. it was about 30 centimetres all around. if you can tell me what type of jelly fish it was. i would really appreciate it. for the answer or reply could you e-mail me at " " for hte subject could you put jellyfish. thanks - Erin

  3. Yesterday on Cherry Point Beach, near Mill Bay, on Vancouver Island, we counted over 50 large red jellyfish which had washed up on shore. Some were as large as hubcaps, all were bigger than dinner plates. I have seen the translucent jellyfish before, but never these reddish brown ones. They were all over...Dead, I assume, from being on shore.