Rare ‘Night-Light Jellyfish’ Turning Up on New Jersey Beaches

by Shelby Scott

We’ve become used to seeing fireflies, or lightning bugs, in various regions across the United States. However, in New Jersey, beachgoers have discovered a much rarer kind of natural nightlight. As we approach the fall season, some folks have reported seeing a rare kind of “night-light jellyfish” on Jersey shores.

According to Fox News, the glowing jellyfish, known as the mauve stinger, boasts a purplish-pink color. And it apparently packs a pretty awful sting.

Scientifically known as Pelagia noctiluca, the mauve jellyfish is unique as it has stinging cells that cover its entire body. And so, unlike other breeds, it can harm people and other wildlife without the use of its tentacles.

The night-light jellyfish, however, isn’t only remarkable in its biology. Its appearance on New Jersey seashores is also a strange phenomenon in itself. Per the outlet, night-light jellyfish typically populate waters in much warmer, tropical regions. One beachgoer, Maggie McGuire, recalled her recent experience seeing the Jersey seashore populated by the mauve stingers.

“The water was literally filled with them,” she said. She said that her children probably caught about a dozen of the jellyfish in buckets before putting them back in the water.

Montclair State University marine biologist Paul Bologna estimates there could be thousands of mauve stingers populating the Jersey Shore coastline. Bologna also shared his own experience of being voluntarily stung by one of the jellyfish.

“I’m like, ‘How bad could it be?'” he said. Apparently, pretty bad. The mauve stinger can cause pain that lasts up to two weeks and can even leave permanent scars. Humorously, Bologna shared, “Immediately, I used some choice four-letter words and it was just like intense pain.”

As bad as the sting itself sounds, though, wildlife experts have not recorded any deaths at the hand of night-light jellyfish.

Minnesota Fisherman Discovers Hundreds of Jellyfish Native to China in Local Lake

The discovery of the night-light jellyfish along the Jersey shore is definitely noteworthy, however, a few weeks ago, a Minnesota fisherman located an even more shocking find. Heading to one of his favorite local fishing spots, fisherman James Hoffman uncovered hundreds of jellyfish native to China in nearby Leech Lake.

Recalling the strange experience, Hoffman shared, “I’ve been coming up here my whole life. For the first time, in this very secluded small spot on this huge lake, I’ve found freshwater jellyfish.”

Sharing his expertise, the fisherman further added that in the state known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, about 20-30 have these freshwater jellyfish.

Strange as it may seem, freshwater jellyfish have actually populated Minnesota lakes for the last 100 years. And they’re also found in 44 of the 50 U.S. states. Further, compared to the night-light jellyfish, these little creatures are actually very peaceful. Unlike its saltwater cousin, the Minnesota jellies’ sting cannot penetrate human skin.