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105 Jellyfish

Baby Box Jelly Fish via VannaGocaraRupa on Flickr

Baby Box Jelly Fish via VannaGocaraRupa on Flickr

Oahu lifeguards spotted slightly more than 100 box jellyfish today as the monthly influx has dropped off considerably. — Honolulu Advertiser

What’s with the jelly count? Once a month — maybe eight to twelve days after a full month — box jellies come close to the beaches to spawn. They’re so predictable that there’s an online calendar; obsessive types could plan their trip to Hawaii around the jellyfish.

Hawaii’s box jellies are unique in their predictable arrivals: they come near shore to spawn 8 to 12 days after each full moon. John Culliney, Professor of Biology at Hawaii Pacific University, said that other members of the same phylum, including corals, also time their spawns based on the lunar cycle.

“They do this because it’s easier to concentrate the eggs and sperm all together,” Culliney said. What is unique about C. alata is that nowhere else in the world are box jellyfish quite so reliably on-time. No one is yet able to answer why. —The Blob That Attacked Waikiki: The Box Jellyfish Invasion of Hawaii

Box jellies are poisonous and apparently, the sting hurts like hell. You don’t want your vacation wrecked by this:

Stings are not often fatal, but can hurt a great deal and may lead to an allergic reaction. Symptoms can include: mild burning, redness to severe blisters and welts. If you contact a Man of War, try to immediately take out the tentacles with anything but your bare hands and teeth. Rinse with fresh or salt water but do not use vinegar. Some people will say to do this, but it often makes stings worse. If symptoms are more than mildly uncomfortable, contact a physician. — Garden Isle

It’s common sense, of course, but if the jellyfish warning signs are out, that’s the day you head for the aquarium or the museum. That’s the day you take a nap or go find the best shrimp truck on the North Shore or go shopping for an ‘ukulele. The weird translucent creatures aren’t going to stick around — let them have the shallows for a few days. Always, always, always, check the beach signs and if you’re not sure, ask a lifeguard.

Beaches in Hawaii are closed from time to time for a variety of reasons — dangerously high tides, shark sightings, and box jellies being among them. Take a minute to remember that you’re standing on a tiny island in the middle of Pacific — and give nature a little respect. It’s all for your safety.

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