Do box jellyfish sleep at night?

Jamie E Seymour, Teresa J Carrette and Paul A Sutherland
Med J Aust 2004; 181 (11): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2004.tb06529.x
Published online: 6 December 2004

A novel tagging technique has uncovered some surprising information about jellyfish behaviour

If you spend any time at all in tropical Australia, especially in the water, you will know about box jellyfish. You will also know that they have a major effect on the way people use the water, that they are capable of killing humans within minutes, and that vinegar is the first aid treatment of choice.1 But did you know that they “sleep”? We certainly didn’t!

  • School of Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Cairns, QLD.


  • 1. Hartwick R, Callanan V, Williamson J. Disarming the box jellyfish. Nematocyst inhibition in Chironex fleckeri. Med J Aust 1980; 1: 15-20.
  • 2. Seymour JE, Carrette T, Seymour A, et al. 2003 Movement patterns in the cubozoan Chironex fleckeri. Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Coelenterate Biology, Lawrence, Kansas, 6–11 June 2003. pp 13-14.
  • 3. Hamner WM, Jones MS, Hamner PP. Swimming, feeding, circulation and vision in the Australian box jellyfish, Chironex fleckeri (Cnidaria: Cubozoa). Mar Freshw Res 1995; 46: 985-990.
  • 4. Gordon MR. Ecophysiology of the tropical Australian chirodropid Chiropsalmus sp. BSc Honours Thesis. Cairns: James Cook University of North Queensland, 1998.


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