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June 13, 2018

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has issued an alert that a stinging jellyfish native to the Pacific Ocean has been identified in Ocean County’s Metedeconk River. The Clinging Jellyfish (Gonionemus vertens) is typically 1 inch in diameter, about the size of the dime, has 60 – 90 tentacles, and packs a painful sting. It tends to attach itself to submerged plants and algae in sheltered, shallow bays and estuaries. Waders in these areas are advised to take precautions, such as wearing boots or waders, and swimming near lifeguarded beaches.

The Clinging Jellyfish was first confirmed in New Jersey in 2016 in the Monmouth County’s Shrewsbury and Manasquan rivers.

Waders or swimmers who run afoul of this petite powerhouse should take these steps:

  • Apply white vinegar to the affected area to immobilize any remaining stinging cells.

  • Rinse the area with saltwater and remove any remaining tentacle materials using gloves, plastic card, or thick towel.

  • Apply cold packs or ice to alleviate pain; a hot compress may also be effective.

  • If symptoms persist or pain increases, seek prompt medical attention.

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