Warmer Waters in the Northern Territory-Herald an Earlier Onset to the Annual Chironex fleckeri Stinger Season
The discovery that Chironex fleckeri occurs annually in northern Australia occurred long ago, possibly before written records were available by local indigenous people, however, to date the precision of this yearly phenomenon is still not fully understood. Sea surface temperature (SST) appears to be a determining factor signaling the “arrival” of C. fleckeri each year. Anthropogenic climate change modeling predicts global rises in SST. Rises in SST may result in an earlier “arrival” of C. fleckeri during the dry season, possibly necessitating extension of the official Northern Territory stinger season to commence in September (currently October through to June). This short report presents data to support this hypothesis, facilitating policy makers with an environmental cue upon which changes to current stinger season can be based—prior to painful and potentially life-threatening presentations.