Officials spotted a “bloom” of invasive, beach ball-sized jellyfish with the ability to damage boats off the coast of the Carolinas, according to WGHP.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) announced on Facebook that the invasive species had made its way to the state coast. This comes just weeks after the same species of jellyfish were at Wrightsville Beach and Beaufort, North Carolina, as reported by the News & Observer.
“As its name implies, the Australian spotted jellyfish ain’t from around here – but it has been introduced far and wide beyond its original range in the Pacific,” the SCDNR statement read. (RELATED: Scientists Discover First ‘Murder Hornets’ Nest In America By Using Tiny Trackers And Dental Floss)
These jellyfish are native to Australia and the Philippines according to experts, but have been gradually introduced to North America and the Western Pacific Ocean over the past forty years. The creatures negatively impact fisheries by eating fish eggs, competing with other species for food, and damaging fishing equipment and boats, according to the Georgia Aquarium.
They can grow to be 1.6 feet in diameter, roughly the size of the average beach ball.
“If you spend time on the water, please keep an eye out for this species (which reaches about the size of a beach ball and is easily identifiable from its spotted appearance) and help federal researchers keep tabs on it by reporting any sightings online,” the statement from the SCDNR concluded.