Preliminary observations on the response of Chironex fleckeri (Cnidaria: Cubozoa: Chirodropida) to different colors of light

Gershwin, Lisa-ann, and Dawes, Peter (2008) Preliminary observations on the response of Chironex fleckeri (Cnidaria: Cubozoa: Chirodropida) to different colors of light. Biological Bulletin, 215 (1). pp. 57-62.

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Cubozoans are well known for their attraction to light and light-colored objects. Two highly venomous types are a public safety concern in Australian waters and elsewhere: Chironex fleckeri, long considered the world's deadliest animal and colloquially called the box jellyfish; and the irukandjis, a group of at least 10 species that cause various degrees of debilitating illness. We were asked by the tourism industry whether there might be a color of light that box jellyfish and irukandjis are not attracted to, such that nighttime diving activities might pose less risk of being stung. Our preliminary trials with Chironex fleckeri indicated a marked positive response to lights of white, red, yellow, green, orange, and blue. All colors elicited a strong and directed attraction to light; however, medusae slowed down their pulsation rate, streamed out their tentacles, and performed a series of figure-eight patterns back and forth through the lighted area when exposed to blue light, which we interpreted as feeding behavior. This compares curiously with a report subsequent to our testing, in which the small, mangrove-inhabiting cubomedusa Tripedalia cystophora and the beach-dwelling Chiropsella bronzie demonstrate a peak sensitivity to blue-green light in the region of 500 nm, and that the former is behaviorally attracted to blue and green light, but ignores red. This leaves open the possibility that Irukandji species, which are more closely related to Tripedalia than to Chironex, may be blind to red.

Item ID: 19389
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1939-8697
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2012 06:36
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111705 Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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