Stinging, Clinging Jellyfish Discovered In Barnegat Bay

Photo courtesy Barnegat Bay Partnership

BRICK – The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) issued a bay advisory after a species of clinging jellyfish with an “excruciating” sting was discovered by bathers in parts of the Barnegat Bay.

The non-native jellyfish originates from coastal rivers and apparently spread into the Barnegat Bay due to summer boating traffic, officials said. The boats were carrying with them a type of algae that the clinging jellyfish feed on.

Bathers and boaters noticed the tiny, coin-sized species in the Metedeconk River, Shrewsbury River, and Manasquan River, where it had reportedly traveled from the Pacific Ocean. The Metedeconk River connects to the northern end of the Barnegat Bay; this is where the NJDEP found clinging jellyfish located at F Cove and Wardells Neck.

NJDEP officials described the species as being tiny, with stringy tentacles and colorful markings in red, orange or violet. It is also known to have a harsh sting, one victim calling it “excruciating.”

“The ‘clinging jellyfish,’ a tiny species native to the Pacific Ocean, does not inhabit sandy areas and should not be a concern to beachgoers,” according to the NJDEP.

A Lacey Township man who was possibly stung by the jellyfish on the bay side of Island Beach State Park described the feeling of the sting as “being stabbed with a thousand ice picks at once.”

Officials noted that wearing rash guards and using petroleum jelly on exposed skin can help to protect from stings.