Clinging Jellyfish make presence felt… and that can sting

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GROTON -- Staffers from UConn - Avery Point set out Monday in search of Clinging Jellyfish.

The species have been in area waters for more than a century but researchers are finding that the small jellyfish are now more abundant and seeing the painful results of people being stung by them.

Syma Ebbin a professor of environmental science at Avery Point and the research coordinator at Connecticut Sea Grant said, "This year is seems like they are more abundant," Ebbin said. "Last year some folks around here got stung very seriously and ended up in the hospital."

Connecticut Sea Grant has helped to commission the Woods Hole Oceanic Institution to study the presence of the jellyfish. Dr. Annette Govindarajan has been leading the research both in Massachusetts and making trips to Mumford Cove off Groton to study the Clinging Jellyfish.

The good news is the Clinging Jellyfish seem to prefer calmer waters -- such as Mumford Cove -- rather than populate in beach areas. Researchers believe they jellyfish, just about the size of a quarter with a brown cross on them, are attracted to sea weed and Eel Grass.

The Clinging Jellyfish have been found primarily in waters from Connecticut to Maine. Ebbin added, "this seems like an emerging issue that needs to be tracked."