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BEWARE!! Dangerous jellyfish!!! Please read!!!!

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10 posts
15 reviews
BEWARE!! Dangerous jellyfish!!! Please read!!!!


My boyfriend and I are staying in Fiji and 2 days ago when out surfing he was stung by a jellyfish. He's a surfer and has been stung back in Australia and the pain was short and bearable. This was so bad, to the point that not only he but I thought he would die. He was transported by a surf boat to our resort and there was a hellicopter was on the way. The medical staff told me it had only happened to another man less than a week ago...but we both had heard nothing about jellyfish on forums or friends who have stayed in Fiji.

Does Anyone have any idea what type of jellyfish are around these spots (he was Surfing at cloud break)? I have googled and read trip adviser but there isn't much for serious jellyfish stingers and it seems quite rare but they are 100% there. His Symptoms were: He has a badly swollen and cut up red looking arm, no tentacles were attached, he was in unbearable pain, was convulsing and shaking, severe pain in chest to he point it looked like he was going to have a heart attack, struggled to breath and had excruciating back pain. I honestly have never seen anyone in pain like it. I really thought this was it.

Also, are these any after effects? He was in excruciating pain and they took him to a Medi centre on a resort but not a hospital, he was shaking so badly they couldn't insert a drip at the time. He has also had weird pulses in various parts of his body since like electric shocks If anyone has any advice they could give me that would be greatly appreciated. I would hate for this to happen to a child or anyone while on holiday.

If you have seen any jellyfish or heard stories or know information this would be greatly appreciated. :)

Hauraki Adventures Fiji
Waterskiing & Jetskiing
Malolosurf co
Surfing, Windsurfing & Kitesurfing
Brothers Surf Tours
Surfing, Windsurfing & Kitesurfing
32 replies to this topic
Cardiff Australia
Level Contributor
55 posts
1 review
1. Re: BEWARE!! Dangerous jellyfish!!! Please read!!!!


Reply number 5 on this post sounds like they may have encountered the same jellyfish & reaction. I know this post is quite old but maybe private message them to find out more info. I hope your boyfriend is feeling better soon.

Level Contributor
10 posts
15 reviews
2. Re: BEWARE!! Dangerous jellyfish!!! Please read!!!!

Thank you, I had seen this post but because it was back from 2006 I thought there may have been more recent posts. The mescal staff said this happened only a week ago but obviously there a quote a few people out there who don't post. I'll definitely make sure we get him checked out as soon as we get back home. Thanks for your help.

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
1,234 posts
114 reviews
3. Re: BEWARE!! Dangerous jellyfish!!! Please read!!!!

Never heard of such a thing in Fiji, and I have travelled there extensively in the past.

That said, it's unlikely that it is a jellyfish, but it could potentially have been a Portugese Man O'War / bluebottle. Symptoms are pretty similar, and even their detached tentacles can cause injury. The welt marks are a slightly different pattern to jellyfish marks, and the tentacles don't normally stay on the skin.

If the venom travels to the lypmh nodes or your partner is allergic to the venom, it could easily manifest in the way you have described.

More to the point, thye normally travel in groups and because they have no way to propel themselves, they are largely moved by tides, winds, etc.

I'd be thinking this is more likely that jellyfish, which leave very distinctive marks and don't travel that far.

This said, the box jellyfish can be found in NZ waters as well, but I doubt it'd travel as far as Fiji, in particular without a decent food source.

PMOW's however, quite likely.

That's my thoughts on this.

Ballarat, Australia
Level Contributor
2,492 posts
298 reviews
4. Re: BEWARE!! Dangerous jellyfish!!! Please read!!!!


Where have you been? We've missed you!


Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
1,234 posts
114 reviews
5. Re: BEWARE!! Dangerous jellyfish!!! Please read!!!!

Last 3 weeks interstate in Brisbane, and been flat out at work up till then, so very quiet :)

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for Mamanuca Islands
Level Contributor
2,953 posts
33 reviews
6. Re: BEWARE!! Dangerous jellyfish!!! Please read!!!!

Kirra if you're still researching this you might be interested in this article...


Seems that sometimes the smallest things in the ocean can do a fair bit of damage without people even knowing they are there.

Hope your boyfriend is on the road to recovery now.

***Note for any future readers who may be looking for the same info and come across this post the article about Irukandji jellyfish on Wiki states "Flushing with vinegar, once believed to be useful at neutralizing the tentacle stinging apparatus of box jellyfish, has been shown to amplify rather than palliate the effects of a box jellyfish sting."***

Dunedin, New Zealand
Destination Expert
for Mana Island, Fiji
Level Contributor
2,385 posts
38 reviews
7. Re: BEWARE!! Dangerous jellyfish!!! Please read!!!!

I acquired a wonderful large book from a 'bookshop bin' some years ago 'Fiji's Natural Heritage' by Paddy Ryan(NZ) and endorsed by Sir David Attenborough. Documented is every insect, animal, flora and fauna, fish, bird, reptile, plant, coral found over the whole of Fiji. Beautiful glossy pictures of everything. Accordingly have researched for 'poisonous jellyfish'. Two are listed: (1) Portuguese-man-of-war (Physalia physalis) (not a true jellyfish but a carnivore) which has very long stinging tentacles. Found in any warm waters. A sting can lead to an allergic reaction which can result in fever, shock and impaired heart and lung function. May cause death, but very rare. Treatment - salt water only, followed by hot water (no vinegar for this one!). This would be my bet, as they live on top of the water and do not propel as such like jellyfish and only move by action of wind, tides and sea currents. (2) Box jellyfish (Chironex sp) although they can deliver fatal stings, they are regarded as being 'rare' in Fiji, but have still been documented on recent occasions.

From other veterinary sources, it is interesting to note that until 2014 (not sure what month!) the applying of vinegar was recommended for jellyfish sting - but not anymore after extensive new research.

A poisonous mud crab from the family Xanthidae (Batiloa - Zosiimus aeneus) is brightly coloured and poisonous - toxins are not destroyed by cooking and no antidote is known. Found on reef flats, foreshores and seashores. One of the toxins present is also found in the lethal puffer fish (also found in the tropics). Hope your partner has now recovered somewhat from his painful experience.

Pacific Coast...
Destination Expert
for Fiji, Mamanuca Islands, Navini Island
Level Contributor
10,270 posts
150 reviews
8. Re: BEWARE!! Dangerous jellyfish!!! Please read!!!!

When you consider hoow much 'stingers' sting (and these are only bits of jelly fish that have broken up) I can not imagine the pain your boyfriend experienced, I have not been able to find out what type of jelly fish 'stingers' come from but sound like it might be one and the same. Sometime people think they have bed bugs as they itch much more at night for some reason but believe me if you get a bed bug bite you will know it.

Perth, Australia
1 post
9. Re: BEWARE!! Dangerous jellyfish!!! Please read!!!!


ITS CALLED, Carukia barnesi... OR... irrukangi in the great barrier reef...

CAN CAUSE CARDIAC ARREST...can cause cardiac arrest...

only antidoes is maybe magnesium sulphate intravenous drip...

but really heart needs to be supported with lowering hi blood pressure and a morphine drip for the pain...

critter is the size of your thumb nail... and can have tentacles a meter long..

in queensland they wear lycra stinger suits with hoods... but face is still uncovered... only solution then is vaseline jelly on face... or maybe zinc...


if you search irrukangi on the web... up pops lots of stuff...

all i know is a marine biologist in queensland has found there are lots of the critters... north of fraser island... especially close to shore... and islands... big bummer... obviously a tropical waters critter... all across the top of australia and now fiji... needs a natural predator... like turtles... or snakes...

Maleny, Australia
Level Contributor
1,347 posts
206 reviews
10. Re: BEWARE!! Dangerous jellyfish!!! Please read!!!!

I saw a beached Portuguese Man of War /Bluebottle on the beach at Pacific Harbour a few days ago. I know that is not in the western islands area, but there it was on the beach, only saw one in about 2 km of beach.

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