Box jellies are found off the west coast (cold water) of South Africa and are often encountered in swarms by scuba divers. Box jellies are a group of animals known to have very well developed eyes and other sensory organs that help them distinguish between shapes, obstacles and movements. Because of their box shape, they are able to propel themselves in the direction they wish, allowing them to actively hunt through schools of fish and shrimp. These jellies have strong tentacles armed with thousands of stinging cells called “nematocysts”. These cells are used to stun and kill prey, which is then pulled into the mouth by the jelly’s tentacles.

Box jellies are related to the deadly sea wasps found off the coast of Australia. Although not as venomous as sea wasps, box jellies can give a very painful sting.

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Species Facts

  • Box jellies can sting with their tentacles.
  • They often occur in swarms together.
  • A swarm of jellies is called a "smack".