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By Adia Wynter

A type of box jellyfish that can give an “agonising” sting has been spotted in the waters off Pigeon Point beach.

The creature – known as a sea wasp – passes through Antigua and Barbuda’s waters a couple of times a year, according to Johnathan Cornelius, director of the Antigua and Barbuda Search and Rescue (ABSAR).

Due to it being virtually transparent, spotting the creature’s small, 10cm-long body can be difficult. Its tentacles, however, can reach up to three metres.

Each of the 60 tentacles hanging down from the sea wasp’s body is covered with specialised stinging cells, called cnidocytes, and the sting they emit is extremely painful. Anyone who experiences a sting from a sea wasp is advised to wash with vinegar before applying cortisone cream.

“The pain is very similar to the sting from a Portuguese man-of-war. Most people are in agony for a period of time,” Cornelius told Observer.

Even though sea wasps are less deadly than some other jellyfish, a sting still poses a serious threat to those who have a strong allergic reaction. In such cases, the affected individual is advised to go to the emergency room for further treatment.

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