Two monster sized box jellyfish found by lifeguards at a beach in North Queensland, Australia would have been capable of killing 120 people, according to an expert.
The large marine stingers, each measuring 30cm in bell diameter, were discovered alive after they washed up on the shore of Balgal Beach, 60km north of Townsville on Wednesday. Surf Life Saving Queensland Townsville region lifeguard supervisor Russell Blanchard said the lethal jellyfish were the largest caught this season. "I've seen them that big before, but we generally don't get them that big," he said.
"I wouldn't say it's a record, but it's about as big as they can get." Any jellyfish found by lifeguards during their routine drags in the water are usually donated to James Cook University for research purposes. The lifeguards on Wednesday, however, did not have any buckets large enough to carry the jellyfish away from the beach, so the venomous sea creatures were buried in the sand and left to quickly die and decompose, to protect beachgoers.
Dr Lisa-Ann Gershwin, who has carried out research on jellyfish in North Queensland, said each of the marine stingers had the potential to kill 60 people, based on the number and length of each tentacle. She said each jellyfish could have as many as 60 tentacles. "It takes 3-5m to kill an adult human in as little as two minutes, and as little as 1.2m of tentacles to kill a child in as little as two minutes,'' she said, adding that the animal's discovery was a reminder for beachgoers to swim inside stinger enclosures, and on beaches patrolled by lifeguards.