Tiny But Very Dangerous Clinging Jelly Fish Are Vacationing in New Jersey This Summer

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Clinging Jellyfish
Clinging JellyPhoto: © Andrey Nekrasov/This content is subject to copyright.

Time to meet the clinging jellyfish, a tiny, invasive sea creature that’s coming to ruin your summer. These clinging jellies are not particularly big, but their sting is very, very nasty. They’ve been spotted in the rivers and inlets in a few New Jersey towns for the first time.

One New Jersey man, swimming in the Shrewsbury River, came across one of these clinging jellies and had to be hospitalized this week. One other New Jersey man who thinks he got stung described the aftermath as if “every single muscle in my body had a Charlie Horse in it. Every muscle felt like it had a knife in it. I couldn’t even lay down, just laying down hurt.” People have also reported that the sting felt like “bizarre paralysis,” or as if “somebody had taken five hypodermic needles … all at the same time and injected them into my lip.” But good news is, at least, is that one person in Massachusetts reported that after “two to three hours of ceaseless pain I started to feel better.”

These little guys are from the Pacific Ocean, but ended up in the East Coast sometime in the late 1890s near Martha’s Vineyard, probably dragged along with a fishing boat. They’ve apparently been found elsewhere on the East Coast, including the Long Island Sound. But this is the first recorded instance of one popping up in New Jersey. Clinging jellyfish don’t like rough waters, usually preferring to hang out in bays and calmer waters — so Jersey Shore goers are probably safe. And swimming in the Shrewsbury River doesn’t sound the greatest, but if you’re doing it, definitely stay away from there at night — that’s when the hungry clinging jellies come out to feed.

Now we’re just waiting to hear whether the Portuguese man o‘ wars will also decide to hang out again around area beaches.