Rare jellyfish have been making their way to New Jersey beaches and the marine life is packing an intense sting.
Mauve stingers, whose scientific names are Pelagia noctiluca, are dotted, purplish-pink jellyfish who are also known as “night-light jellyfish.”
Unlike other jellyfish, mauve stingers have stinging cells over their entire bodies, meaning they can injure without their tentacles.
Liza Baskin, a marine scientist at the Marine Academy of Science and Technology in Sandy Hook spoke to NJ.com and warned against interacting with these jellyfish. “Sometimes people pick up dead jellyfish by the bell — that should definitely not happen with this one because it can still sting you.” She says that people who have been stung by this species have described it as a nine-volt battery sort of sting.
If stung by a mauve stinger, pain can last up to two weeks and leave permanent scars. If you do get stung, scientists suggest that you do not wash jellyfish burns with seawater. You should also avoid applying ice. They say that ice helps venom spread rather than stop it. Experts recommend using white vinegar which will deter the venom from spreading.
Mauve stingers are also usually found in the open ocean. However, the jellyfish have been recently sighted and washed up all along the Jersey Shore, from Sandy Hook to Cape May.
Paul Bologna, the director of the Marine Biology and Coastal Sciences program at Montclair State University told the outlet that the rare presence of the mauve stingers could be due to several factors. He states that the “lack of rainfall and upwelling in the ocean to winds coming out of the southeast this summer. The tide also may play a role, pulling the mauve stingers in and onto the beaches once they drift close enough.”
Although the sting is very painful there have been no reported human fatalities from it.