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Abundant box jellyfish, Chironex sp. (Cnidaria: Cubozoa: Chirodropidae), discovered at depths of over 50 m on western Australian coastal reefs

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Title: Abundant box jellyfish, Chironex sp. (Cnidaria: Cubozoa: Chirodropidae), discovered at depths of over 50 m on western Australian coastal reefs
Author: Keesing, John (JK); Strzelecki, Joanna (J); Stowar, Marcus (M); Wakeford, Mary (M); Miller, Karen (KJ); Gershwin, Lisa-Ann (L); Liu, Dongyan (D)
Abstract:
Box jellyfish cause human fatalities and have a life cycle and habit associated with shallow waters (<5m) in mangrove creeks, coastal beaches, embayments. In north-western Australia, tow video and epibenthic sled surveys discovered large numbers (64 in a 1500m tow or 0.05 m-2) of Chironex sp. very near to the benthos (<50cm) at depths of 39-56m. This is the first record of a population of box jellyfish closely associated with the benthos at such depths. Chironex were not widespread, occurring only in 2 of 33 tow videos and 3 of 41 epibenthic sleds spread over 2000 km2. All Chironex filmed or captured were on low to medium relief reefs with rich filter feeder communities. None were on soft sediment habitat despite these habitats comprising 49% of all sites. The importance of the reef habitat to Chironex remains unclear. Being associated with filter feeder communities might represent a hazard, and other studies have shown C. fleckeri avoid habitats which represent a risk of entanglement of their tentacles. Most of our observations were made during the period of lowest tidal current flow in the morning. This may represent a period favourable for active hunting for prey close to the seabed.
Link to Description: http://www.nature.com/articles/srep22290
Date: 2016-02-29
Citation: Keesing JK, Strzelecki J, Stowar M, Wakeford M, Miller KJ, Gershwin LA, Liu D (2016) Abundant box jellyfish, Chironex sp. (Cnidaria: Cubozoa: Chirodropidae), discovered at depths of over 50 m on western Australian coastal reefs. Scientific Reports 6: 22290


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Attribution 3.0 Australia Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution 3.0 Australia