Some may not expect to see a jellyfish wash up on shore in Maine, but visitors to the Gulf of Maine and the beaches along the coastline are getting a glimpse of some rather large versions of the boneless aquatic animals.
Lion's mane jellyfish have been washing up onshore. They can be more than five feet wide and have 100-foot-long tentacles. They are also dark red and look like a floating fireball when they're in the water. When they don't have water to support their gelatinous-like bodies, they look like a pool of blood, The Associated Press reported.
They live in cold water environments.
Becky Rice-Barns was digging for clams with her husband when they found one of the jellyfish earlier this year, the AP reported.
She said she's seen some before but never that big.
Record keepers say the lion's mane jellyfish they come across in Maine are usually are about a foot and a half to 2 feet in diameter, but there have been a few reports of ones that are 5 to 6 feet.
The tentacles can sting and are used to grab its prey. If a human is stung it will be painful but not usually life-threatening.
Nick Record, a senior research scientist at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, said "Just a gigantic, scary jellyfish that you would not want to run into in the water. It has been kind of a steady stream of them all summer," according to the AP.
So far the number of sightings is not unusual, Record said, with the number expected to be between the normal 300 to 700 jellyfish they typically see.
But experts say that while the number isn't unusual, the size of the ones being found may signal a climate change.
Record said that the Gulf of Maine is getting warmer than other bodies of water and the jellyfish will get bigger in warmer water, according to the AP.
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