State environmental officials will start to map out the locations of the dangerous jellyfish that put a man in the hospital earlier this week.
The clinging jellyfish is one inch in diameter and has almost 90 tentacles. The female is colored in orange, violet or red, and the male is yellow-brown. The species is often found in seaweed.
Several sightings have been reported, and a man had been stung. Until 2013, the species had been found only on the east coast.
Marine biologists and environmental officials will need to determine how widespread the jellyfish population is, and then decide what action must be taken. A scientist from Montclair State University traveled to Shrewsbury River and Barnegat Bay to verify the potential invasion.
The experts suspect that a man who had to ask for hospital care after he got stung was the first victim of the clinging jellyfish. As the man did not see what attacked him, the identification was made based on the symptoms and the presence of the water creature in the area.
The clinging jellyfish was introduced to the east coast in 1894 and until now its presence was reported only from the Maine up to North Carolina. This would be the first time the jellyfish is found to reach New Jersey.
The jellyfish sting can cause extreme pain and muscle weakness.
As they are so tiny, the creatures like to stay in calm waters. Therefore, they avoid the ocean. Moreover, they are much more likely to be seen at night, when they go out to look for food.
The first sighting report was two weeks ago when a fisherman from Point Pleasant Borough called to announce the jellyfish presence. Two other young girls saw it in the Shrewsbury River.
Experts say that seeing a jellyfish indicates the presence of much more many. Therefore, the half of dozen sightings comes as a surprise for scientists, who were not expecting the clinging jellyfish to be traveling that far and venture into the waters of New Jersey in such large numbers.
At the moment, scientists do not exclude the possibility that the dangerous jellyfish would travel south. However, the sea creatures prefer cooler water, so the marine biologists are now trying to locate the colonies and to find a solution to protect the locals and the tourists from their sting.
Image Source: OpenCage
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