Hydrobiologia

, Volume 616, Issue 1, pp 87–97 | Cite as

Quantifying movement of the tropical Australian cubozoan Chironex fleckeri using acoustic telemetry

JELLYFISH BLOOMS

Abstract

Cubomedusae are considered to have superior swimming abilities compared to other pelagic cnidarians, yet many of the theories describing such behaviours are based on anecdotal evidence, sting records or opportunistic sightings, rather than quantitative data. Acoustic telemetry was used to document the movements of adult Chironex fleckeri medusae within both coastal and estuarine habitats. The rate at which tagged medusae moved was influenced by an interaction between time period (day or night) and habitat (coastal or estuarine), with rates of travel being relatively similar during the day and night within the coastal habitat, but significantly greater at night than during the day within the estuarine habitat. Medusae in coastal habitats travelled at similar rates throughout all tidal states while estuarine medusae travelled at significantly faster rates towards the middle of the tide than at the low and high ebbs. Such movements occurred with, and independent of, tidally generated currents, but at increased current speeds, medusae tended to travel with the current. Data are also presented that show that large medusae may move from coastal to estuarine habitats.

Keywords

Box jellyfish Habitat Tide Tracking 

References

  1. Atkinson, L. J., S. Mayfield & A. C. Cockcroft, 2005. The potential for using acoustic tracking to monitor the movement of the West Coast rock lobster Jasus lalandii. African Journal of Marine Science 27: 401–408.Google Scholar
  2. Barnes, J. H., 1960. Observations on jellyfish stings in north Queensland. Medical Journal of Australia 2: 993–999.Google Scholar
  3. Barnes, J. H., 1965. Chironex fleckeri and Chiropsalmus quadrigatus: morphological distinctions. North Queensland Naturalist 32: 13–22.Google Scholar
  4. Barnes, J. H., 1966. Studies on three venomous Cubomedusae. In The Cnidaria and Their Evolution: Symposium of the Zoological Society of London. No. 16 Academic Press, London: 307–332.Google Scholar
  5. Blaber, S. J. M. & T. G. Blaber, 1980. Factors affecting the distribution of juvenile estuarine and inshore fish. Journal of Fish Biology 17: 143–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Blaber, S. J. M., D. T. Brewer & J. P. Salini, 1989. Species composition and biomass of fishes in different habitats or a tropical Northern Australian estuary: their occurrence in the adjoining sea and estuarine dependence. Estuarine. Coastal and Shelf Science 29: 509–531.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Blaber, S. J. M., D. T. Brewer & J. P. Salini, 1995. Fish communities and the nursery role of the shallow inshore waters of a tropical bay in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 40: 177–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brown, T., 1973. Chironex fleckeri – Distribution and Movements Around Magnetic Island, North Queensland. World Life Research Institute, Colton, California. ISBN 095994365X.Google Scholar
  9. Cyrus, D. P. & S. J. M. Blaber, 1992. Turbidity and salinity in a Tropical Northern Australian Estuary and their influence on fish distribution. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 35: 545–563.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Egli, D. P. & R. C. Babcock, 2004. Ultrasonic tracking reveals multiple behavioural modes of snapper (Pagrus auratus) in a temperate no-take marine reserve. Journal of Marine Science 61: 1137–1143.Google Scholar
  11. Gordon, M. R., 1998. Ecophysiology of the Tropical Australian Chirodropid Chiropsalmus sp. Honours Thesis, School of Tropical and Marine Biology, James Cook University of North Queensland, Australia.Google Scholar
  12. Gordon, M. R., C. Hatcher & J. E. Seymour, 2004. Growth and age determination of the tropical Australian cubozoan Chiropsalmus sp. Hydrobiologia 530/531: 339–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hamner, W. M. & D. Doubilet, 1994. Australian box jellyfish–a killer down under. National Geographic 186: 116–130.Google Scholar
  14. Hamner, W. M., M. S. Jones & P. P. Hamner, 1995. Swimming, feeding, circulation and vision in the Australian box jellyfish, Chironex fleckeri. Marine and Freshwater Research 46: 985–990.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hartwick, R. F., 1987. The box jellyfish. In Covachevich, J., P. Davie & J. Pearn (eds), Toxic Plants and Animals–A Guide for Australia. Queensland Museum Press, Brisbane: 99–105.Google Scholar
  16. Hartwick, R. F., 1991. Distributional ecology and behaviour of the early life stages of the box-jellyfish Chironex fleckeri. Hydrobiologia 216/217: 181–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Heupel, M. R. & C. A. Simpfendorfer, 2005. Quantitative analysis of aggregation behaviour in juvenile black tip sharks. Marine Biology 147: 1239–1249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Heupel, M. R., J. M. Semmens & A. J. Hobday, 2006. Automated acoustic tracking of aquatic animals: scales, design and deployment of listening station arrays. Marine and Freshwater Research 57: 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Jackson, G. D., R. K. O’Dor & Y. Andrade, 2005. First tests of hybrid acoustic/archival tags on squid and cuttlefish. Marine and Freshwater Research 56: 425–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kerwath, S. E., A. Gotz, P. D. Cowley, W. H. H. Sauer & C. Attwood, 2005. A telemetry experiment on spotted grunter Pomadasys commersonnii in an African estuary. African Journal of Marine Science 27: 389–394.Google Scholar
  21. Kinsey, B. E., 1986. Barnes on Box Jellyfish. James Cook University of North Queensland (Sir George Fisher Centre for Tropical Marine Studies), Townsville, Australia. ISBN 0864432003.Google Scholar
  22. Marsh, L. M., S. M. Slack-Smith & D. L. Gurry, 1986. Sea Stingers – and other venomous and poisonous marine invertebrates of Western Australia. Western Australia Museum, Perth, Australia.Google Scholar
  23. Omundsen, S. L., M. J. Sheaves & B. W. Molony, 2000. Temporal population dynamics of the swarming shrimp, Acetes sibogae australis, in a tropical near-shore system. Marine and Freshwater Research 51: 249–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Rifkin, J., 1996. Jellyfish mechanisms. In Williamson, J. J., P. J. Fenner, J. W. Burnett & J. Rifkin (eds), Venomous and Poisonous Marine Animals – A Medical and Biological Handbook. University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia: 121–173.Google Scholar
  25. Robertson, A. I. & N. C. Duke, 1987. Mangroves as nursery sites: comparisons of the abundance and species composition of fish and crustaceans in mangroves and other nearshore habitats in tropical Australia. Marine Biology 96: 193–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Robertson, A. I. & N. C. Duke, 1990. Recruitment, growth and residence time of fishes in a tropical Australian mangrove system. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 31: 723–743.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Seymour, J. E., T. J. Carrette & P. A. Sutherland, 2004. Do box jellyfish sleep at night? Medical Journal of Australia 181: 706.Google Scholar
  28. Shorten, M., J. Davenport, J. E. Seymour, M. C. Cross, T. J. Carrette, G. Woodward & T. F. Cross, 2005. Kinematic analysis of swimming in Australian box jellyfish, Chiropsalmus sp. and Chironex fleckeri (Cubozoa, Cnidaria: Chirodropidae). Journal of Zoology 267: 371–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Southcott, R. V., 1956. Studies on Australian Cubomedusae, including a new genus apparently harmful to man. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Ecology 7: 254–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Southcott, R. V., 1971. The box-jellies or sea-wasps. Australian Natural History 17: 123–128.Google Scholar
  31. Staples, D. J. & D. J. Vance, 1987. Comparative recruitments of the banana prawn, Penaeus merguiensis, in five estuaries of South-eastern Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 38: 29–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Vance, D. J. & D. J. Staples, 1992. Catchability and sampling of three species of juvenile penaeid prawns in the Embley River, Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia. Marine Ecology Progress Series 87: 210–213.Google Scholar
  33. Vance, D. J., D. S. Heales & N. R. Loneragan, 1994. Seasonal, diel and tidal variation in beam-trawl catches of juvenile grooved tiger prawns, Penaeus semisulcatus (Decapoda: Penaeidae), in the Embley River, North-eastern Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 45: 35–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Vance, D. J., M. D. E. Haywood, D. S. Heales, R. A. Kenyon, N. R. Loneragan & P. C. Pendrey, 1996. How far do prawns and fish move into mangroves? Distribution of juvenile banana prawns Penaeus merguiensis and fish in a tropical mangrove forest in northern Australia. Marine Ecology Progress Series 131: 115–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Willis, J. & A. J. Hobday, 2007. Influence of upwelling on movement of southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii) in the Great Australian Bight. Marine and Freshwater Research 58: 699–708.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wingate, R. L. & D. H. Secor, 2007. Intercept telemetry of the Hudson River Striped Bass resident contingent: migration and homing patterns. Transactions on the American Fisheries Society 136: 95–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Xiao, Y. & J. G. Greenwood, 1992. Distribution and behaviour of Acetes sibogae Hansen (Decapoda, Crustacea) in an estuary in relation to tidal and diel environmental changes. Journal of Plankton Research 14: 393–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Xiao, Y. & J. G. Greenwood, 1993. The biology of Acetes (Crustacea; Sergestidae). Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review 31: 259–444.Google Scholar
  39. Yamaguchi, M., 1982. Cubozoans and their life histories. Aquabiology Tokyo 4: 248–254.Google Scholar
  40. Yamaguchi, M., 1985. Occurrence of the Cubozoan medusae Chiropsalmus quadrigatus in the Ryukyus. Bulletin on Marine Science 37: 780–781.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Marine and Tropical BiologyJames Cook UniversityCairnsAustralia

Personalised recommendations