Potentially painful clinging jellyfish have been found in several spots on the Jersey Shore, according to Montclair Director of Marine Biology Paul Bologna.

The species of jellyfish with 60 to 90 tentacles that contain stinging cells capable of delivering very painful and sometimes paralyzing neurotoxins were found as part of the decommissioning of the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in the Forked River area. Bologna and his team also found them where the Metedeconk River meets Barnegat Bay and in North Wildwood.

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Bologna said his team found 45 in Forked River on Tuesday and 50 or 60 in Brick on Thursday morning.  The information is shared on the DEP's map tracking the clinging jellyfish.

"We found them in 2016 in Brick and that's really where they started to come up and that's the first reported sting that we had by Shrewsbury where a man spent time in the hospital and that was a troubling development," Bologna said. "Since that point we've had people stung down here at Tice's Shoals, Barnegat Bay also Island Beach State Park."

The sting causes pain, causes muscles to tense up "like a giant Charlie horse and creates incredible pain," Bologna said, adding it's different than a regular jellyfish sting.

Bologna said you won't find the clinging jellyfish on the ocean beaches but instead in their natural habitat of eel grass, sea lettuce and algae in the back bays, rivers and estuaries.

"Where you find those things are potential places where they are hanging out. It's generally pretty shallow water  right along the coastal areas across someone's bulkhead dock, next to the islands and marshes. These are all places we've observed them over the last five years," Bologna said.

You can protect yourself against them by wearing a wet suit or waders. Or wait until after the Fourth of July when water temperatures are warm and the clinging jellyfish start to leave.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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