Beachgoers in New Jersey are being warned to be careful while swimming off the coast after clinging jellyfish were spotted near Barnegat Bay and Cape May.
Clinging jellyfish have about 60 to 80 tentacles and are mostly transparent, except for a reddish-orange cross on the top. The jellyfish are considered extremely dangerous because they can latch onto a person and slowly inject them with a paralyzing toxin.
While most jellyfish stings are painful, clinging jellyfish can be latched onto somebody for several hours before they realize they have been stung.
"So, these organisms have a variety of mechanisms that they work with," Montclair State University professor Dr. Paul Bologna told Fox Weather. "And the problem with them is that when, in fact, they're sort of stinging you, it's sort of a small sting initially."
"And it's usually hours later that somebody actually starts to feel those effects. The muscles start to tighten up," he added. "And then you've got, you know, hours later that they're really in incredible pain."
Bologna said that clinging jellyfish are an invasive species and are spreading up and down the East Coast from Maine down to the southern tip of New Jersey.
Officials said that if you are stung by a jellyfish, you should thoroughly clean the area with saltwater. Then, carefully remove any remaining tentacles while wearing gloves. You do not need to seek medical attention unless the pain or symptoms persist.