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Rare jellyfish irritate So Cal beach goers

By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   July 9, 2013 at 1:55 PM   |   Comments

July 9 (UPI) -- Meet the black sea nettle, a giant black jellyfish with a 25-foot tentacles and a carnivorous habit, invading the waters off Southern California just in time for beach season.

These rare floaters made an unwelcome appearance at several stretches of shore in Laguna Beach over the Fourth of July weekend, sending swimmers screaming to shore.

Although many of the jellies were already dead, smashed up in the surf and rocks, their stingers were plenty capable of stinging post-mortem. Swimmers reported stings all over their bodies, with clumps of the dark membranes clinging to their skin as they fled to the shore.

The black jellies are tough to find, so much so they were only officially identified in 1999. But scientists say they've made an impression: their bells can reach a meter across, not to mention the 25-foot-long tentacles, and their stings are particularly nasty.

They were spotted at Thousand Steps, Table Rock, Diver's Cove and Rockpile beaches in Laguna over the weekend.

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