Recent sightings of the lion's mane jellyfish in the waters around Hull, Massachusetts, are prompting warnings from officials.
One of the world's largest jellyfish species, the lion's mane has an orange-brown bell, can grow up to six feet wide and have tentacles that can exceed lengths of 100 feet, according to Hull Deputy Fire Chief William Frazier III.
The sting is "moderately painful" and can cause an allergic reaction in some cases, which may require medical treatment, Frazier wrote in a warning posted to the town's Facebook page. Lion's mane jellyfish can sting you whether they're alive or dead,
"If you do see one, exit the water and give it plenty of room to avoid those long stinging tentacles," Frazier said. "If you come upon one washed up on the sand, do not attempt to move it, the tentacles can be very difficult to see and some jellyfish can still sting while out of the water."
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If you do get stung, officials suggest getting out of the water and inspecting the affected area. Frazier urged people not use their bare hands to remove any attached tentacles, rather using tweezers or gloves. Officials suggest rinsing the area with warm water and seeking medical attention if symptoms of severe allergic reaction occur.
"It hurts," said Chris Doller of the New England Aquarium, who's been stung numerous times. "It's a good sting."
Sightings of this species, also known as the giant jellyfish, are not unheard of in New England. Scientists began seeing unusual jellyfish blooms in the Gulf of Maine in 2014.
Around this time last year, the presence of lion's mane jellyfish prompted the purple flag warning at Nahant Beach, which indicates that potentially dangerous animals are in the water. Especially large jellies appeared on the coast of Maine in May 2020, measuring a whopping five feet across.
The outlook for this year looks similar, because of a surplus of plankton that the jellies feed on, Doller said.