Researchers have now confirmed a significant presence of one type of small and potentially dangerous type of jellyfish found in the Monmouth Beach and Oceanport areas of the Jersey Shore. About 60 clinging jellyfish were collected over the weekend. Clinging jellyfish have also been found in the Manasquan River and in Barnegat Bay, and they may also be in other rivers and back bays. This type of jellyfish is not found in the ocean.
NBC 4 New York was the first to report the discovery of the invasive species in Monmouth Beach and Oceanport earlier this month. The swimmer who was stung in Oceanport landed in the hospital for two days after being stung by what he thinks was one of the jellyfish.
The dime-sized invasive jellyfish are native to the Pacific Ocean and pack an intensely painful sting. A brush with multiple clinging jellyfish could possible lead the victim to a hospital emergency room with kidney failure. Scientists aren’t sure how the clinging jellyfish have gotten to the area, but they do have a theory. According to Paul Bologna, the director of marine biology and coastal sciences at Montclair State University, “A species like this probably was transported via some ship at some point and the larvae came into the system.”
Clinging jellyfish hang on to eelgrass or seaweed and usually remain in deep water during the day and surface at night to feed. They also usually live in bay water. Bologna stressed that the jellyfish are quite small and pretty translucent so if you are swimming along, there’s probably a good chance that you wouldn’t even notice them. He said researchers are now extracting DNA from the clinging jellyfish that were collected to try and determine where they’ve come from.
Larry Hajna, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, said if you do get stung by a clinging jellyfish, “remove the remnants of the tentacles from your skin, but don’t touch them directly. Pull them out with tweezers or gloves. Use something that will protect your fingers from getting stung. Rinse the site with fresh water and alcohol, and then contact your doctor.”
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