Box Jellyfish Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Heather Pier

Heather has taught high school and college science courses, and has a master's degree in geography-climatology.

Come learn about the dangerous animal known as the Box Jellyfish! Box Jellyfish live in the ocean. They are one of the types of jellyfish that can sting and kill other animals, including humans.

What is a Box Jellyfish?

When you picture a jellyfish, you probably think of a big blob lazily floating in the ocean. They move calmly and gracefully. Box Jellyfish are not that type of jellyfish.

Box Jellyfish are one of the most powerful and dangerous jellyfish in the world. Jellyfish are invertebrate animals, which means that they do not have a backbone.

You can see the box-like shape on the body of this box jellyfish.

What makes them dangerous is the fact that they can sting other animals (including humans) so badly that it kills them. A bee can sting you and inject you with venom, and box jellyfish can, too. A bee sting probably won't kill you unless you are really allergic to them. A sting from a box jellyfish can be strong enough to stop your heart and shut your nervous system down.

They are extremely dangerous. If you do survive a box jellyfish sting, you will probably have lifelong damage to your body. Most of the smaller animals that box jellyfish encounter in the ocean will not survive their sting.

How are Box Jellyfish and Other Jellyfish Different?

There are several differences between box jellyfish and other types of jellyfish besides the strength of their sting. Most jellyfish drift in the ocean currents and can't really control where they go. Box jellyfish have the ability to control their movements and move around however they like, just like you do when you swim.

This is NOT a box jellyfish. You can see that it has many more tentacles and its medusa is not boxy.

The main part of a jellyfish's body is called its medusa. Most jellyfish have large, wide medusas that look like the top of a mushroom. Box jellyfish have narrower, taller medusas that look more like a box. This is how they got their name.

The top part of the box jellyfish is called the medusa. The parts hanging down from the medusa are called the tentacles.

The other part of the jellyfish's body is called the tentacles. These hang down from the medusa like your hair hangs off your head. The tentacles are the part of the jellyfish that can sting you. Box jellyfish have less tentacles hanging down from their medusas than other jellyfish do. This makes the tentacle area of their bodies look skinnier than other jellyfish.

Where Do Box Jellyfish Live?

Box jellyfish don't live in all of the world's oceans. Most box jellyfish are found off the northern coast of Australia, including the most dangerous types.

There are also some in the region where the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean come together. Box jellyfish can also sometimes be found near Japan and California.

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