The tiny yet toxic threat

IT is winter, right?

Sometimes it’s hard to tell on the Gold Coast. The temperature was around 25 degrees on Friday and with the mid-afternoon sun streaming into my office, I almost had to turn the fan on.

Well, not quite, but I did have to take off my jumper.


Anyway, it’s a good thing it’s “winter”, because you wouldn’t want to be going to the beach any time soon.

According to marine researcher Dr Lisa-ann Gershwin, there could be some very tiny, yet very deadly jellyfish lurking in our waters.

These lethal little critters known as “morbakka fenneri” are a close relation of the peanut-sized irukandji jellyfish, and they’ve already been found a little further north, in Moreton Bay.

Morbakka are larger than their irukandji counterparts, which are typically the size of matchsticks, but they’re smaller than the deadly box jellyfish we all know and fear.

There’s a possibility, says Lisa-ann, that these toxic sea creatures may be present as far north as Port Douglas, and as far south as Sydney – and they could “absolutely” be making a home for themselves in our very own patch of the ocean, at the Southport Broadwater.

What’s worse, she says, is the fact that its numbers and toxicity could increase as the earth warms.

Now, if you’re a climate change denier, there’s nothing to worry about.

But, if you happen believe in the decades of research and scientific studies that indicate that, yes, climate change is indeed a-happening… And you’re the type of person who feels for those Gold Coast homeowners whose backyards have literally disappeared…

Well, when viewed in this light, it seems like a pretty scary discovery.

But before you freak all the way out, I should point out that there haven’t been any actual sightings of these lethal jellies on the Goldie.

Nor have there been any reports of any stings at Gold Coast hospitals.

And, as the doc herself confirms, while most people who get stung by a jellyfish wind up in hospital, stings are “not considered life-threatening most of the time”.

Good to know. It certainly boosts the appeal of wearing protective, full-body wetsuits to the beach, rather than skimpy budgie smugglers that leave little to the imagination. Maybe a toxic jelly invasion is not such a bad thing after all?

The Meddler

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