It’s official: NJ rivers, bays loaded with dangerous clinging jellyfish
Researchers have now confirmed a significant presence of one type of small and potentially dangerous type of jellyfish in a Garden State River.
According to Paul Bologna, the director of marine biology and coastal sciences at Montclair State University, about 60 clinging jellyfish were collected from the Shrewsbury River estuary Tuesday morning.
He said that indicates “we’ve got a pretty good population established at least in that part of New Jersey.”
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, so if you’re heading to the shore, you don’t have to worry about them.
“Despite their small size, they really produce very high concentrations of these venoms and toxins,” said Bologna.
Larry Hajna, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, said the sting delivered by the clinging jellyfish “especially if you’re sort of susceptible to it, can put you in the hospital. And right now we don’t have a strong handle on just how prevalent they are.”
Hajna described the jellyfish as “an invasive species that is normally found in the Pacific Ocean,” and it’s unclear how they found their way here.
He pointed out ‘they attach themselves to eel grass and other types of aquatic vegetation. So if anybody is walking through these areas they should be extra alert and wear appropriate gear, like maybe waders or high boots to avoid being stung.”
Bologna stressed “they’re quite small, about the size of a dime and they’re pretty translucent, so if you were swimming along there’s probably a good chance that you would even notice them. That’s what makes them a little bit more of a concern to us.”
He said researchers are now extracting DNA from the clinging jellyfish that were collected to try and determine where they’ve come from.
If you do get stung by a clinging jellyfish, Hajna said “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.”