BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 438

BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 438

IELTS Academic Reading Test
IELTS academic reading practice test

The reading passage has eight paragraphs A-H. Choose the most suitable headings for paragraphs B-H from headings i-x below.

27. Paragraph B

28. Paragraph C

29. Paragraph D

30. Paragraph E

31. Paragraph F

32. Paragraph G

33. Paragraph H

IELTS Academic Reading Test


i. Measuring mobility

ii. Deadly venom essential

iii. Stung while swimming

iv. Recovering From the stings

v. How to avoid being stung

vi. Unexpected discoveries

vii. A serious lack of knowledge

viii. All-around vision

ix. Very small but highly dangerous

x. Spiders that kill

IELTS Academic Reading Test


A. The yacht was anchored 200 meters off the Queensland coast when Chris Slough dived into the water. That’s when it got him. ‘I felt a couple of little stings on my chest,” he says, ‘but I thought nothing of it and carried on.’ But as soon as he got back on the boat he realized he was in big trouble. ’l suddenly came over very nauseous’, he says. Within minutes he was in agonizing pain, vomiting and struggling to breathe. ‘It felt like my organs were popping out.’

B. Chris had been stung by an Irukandji, a vicious creature named after an aboriginal tribe whose folklore tells of a terrible illness that struck people who went swimming in the sea. Irukandji, a species of box jellyfish, grow no bigger than a peanut, yet relative to their size are probably the most toxic creatures on earth, putting many people in the hospital each year with ‘Irukandji syndrome’. All but invisible in the water, their transparent bodies are covered from head to tentacle tip in stinger cells that discharge at the slightest touch, harpooning your skin with venomous barbs. The sting itself is often so mild that you barely notice it until the powerful venom kicks in.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

C. When Chris arrived in hospital, he was given a massive dose of painkillers but no antivenin. Despite the severity and frequency of Irukandji stings, no one has characterized its venom or identified the properties of that of any other species of box jellyfish. In fact, almost everything about box jellyfish is a mystery. Chris was lucky not to have brushed up against chironex fleckeri, a brutish creature the size of a birthday cake with sixty sting-encrusted tentacles. Chironex has killed at least sixty-seven people in Australia since records began in 1883, more than the notorious red-back spider. It can kill a grown man in three minutes flat. Even so, no one knows what’s in its venom.

D. Rattled by bad publicity the tourist industry has been pouring money into box jellyfish research. What the biologists are finding comes as a big surprise. It turns out that box jellyfish are not jellyfish at all. In fact, it looks as though they have been plowing a separate evolutionary furrow since the Pre-Cambrian period, 543 million years ago. What’s more, the sea is teeming with unknown species. Even a cursory survey has revealed more than a dozen undescribed ones, some probably even more dangerous than chronic and the Irukandji.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

E. Jamie Seymour, a tropical biologist at James Cook University in Cairns, has developed a technique for tracking chironex’s movements using tiny ultrasonic transmitters stuck on with surgical superglue. True jellyfish are dim-witted ocean drifters, but, the first time Seymour managed to tag a chronic with one of these, it immediately headed straight for the bottom, then suddenly swam off covering nearly half a kilometer in fifteen minutes. One simple fact underlies this behavior: box jellies are voracious predators. ‘You see whole chunks of fish inside them,’ says Seymour. Drifting around aimlessly is not a good strategy for a fish eater, so they charge around in search of prey.

F. Another remarkable feature of box jellyfish is their visual system. They have twenty-four eyes, arranged in clusters of six, one on each side of their cuboid body. Each cluster contains two types of an eye – four simple light-sensing pits plus two sophisticated ‘camera eyes’. The latter are anatomically similar to human eyes, with lenses, retinas, and corneas, and can form detailed color images, but all this sophisticated equipment begs a question.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

How do box jellies deal with all the information their eyes gather when they don’t have a brain? What happens, for example, when two different eyes are sending out contradictory information? No one knows. Why would a creature so apparently primitive need such sophisticated eyes, and so many of them? Some scientists have suggested that this is to do with finding optimum hunting grounds, but Seymour goes one further. He believes that box jellyfish actively seek out prey. He says he has seen them swim around obstacles and home in on individual fish.

G. Their predatory eating habits also explain why they have such lethal toxins. It’s one thing to stalk fish, but how do you catch them when all you have are flimsy, rubbery tentacles? The answer is to take them out with as much lethal force as possible. A chironex sting certainly does that – its venom can dispatch a fish in less than two minutes. It’s just an evolutionary accident that the toxin works so well for us too.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Seymour suspects there are more deaths than are officially recognized. He points out that chironex fleckeri was thought to be confined to northern Australian waters but has now been found in Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. The Irukandji too is probably widespread in the Indo-Pacific. ‘People are getting stung and killed all over the tropics without anybody realizing the true cause,’ he says.

H. As for Chris, the painkillers worked well enough to let him lie down without it hurting. And he was lucky to have a short bout — it only took twenty hours for him to stop feeling like he was going to die.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Complete sentences 34-37 with the correct ending A-G from the box below.

34. At first, box jellyfish stings may not hurt much

35. Doctors could not give Chris antivenin at the hospital

36. Box jellyfish have to be able to swim well

37. The number of human victims is probably underestimated

IELTS Academic Reading Test

A. because they have extremely good eyesight.

B. because these creatures live in more places than was realized.

C. because they are not really a kind of jellyfish.

D. because they cause much less pain than the venom.

E. because we don’t know how many kinds of box jellyfish there are.

F. because they need to go after the fish they eat.

G. because the exact nature of the venom is unknown.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Write NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each answer.

38. How long, apparently, have box jellyfish differed from true jellyfish?

39. What did Seymour fasten to the box jellyfish?

40. What do box jellyfish lack for processing visual data?

IELTS Academic Reading Test


BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 438

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IELTS Academic Reading Test

27. ix

28. vii

29. vi

30. i

31. viii

32. ii

33. iv

34. D

35. G

36. F

37. B




IELTS Academic Reading Test

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