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Jellyfish Litter Beach at South Padre Island

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Posted: Feb 21, 2012 7:30 PM

Updated: Feb 21, 2012 8:38 PM

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND - Visitors to South Padre Island should watch where they step and where they swim. That's the warning from marine experts on South Padre Island.

Jellyfish - and lots of them - washed ashore on South Padre Island. The Cameron County Extension Office are on the water right now and say millions more of those jellyfish could be on the way.

Gladys Clarke knows to watch her step as she strolls along the beach. Scattered among the shells and tangled in the seaweed are thousands of poisonous little threats.

"A sea of blue, poppy things," says Clarke.

They're jellyfish and Portuguese man of war. Most are dead, but some are still alive. Visitors will see more of them scattered on the northern stretch of South Padre Island in the coming days.

"We saw them last year, too, but not as many," says Clarke.

"We've had what you might call a bloom of Portuguese man of war occur along the northern beaches of South Padre Island. They washed a shore about a day ago," says Tony Reisinger, the county's extension agent.

He considers this phenomenon normal. The jellyfish are likely in a feeding frenzy off the coast.

"We caught a lot of fish eggs so there's many fish out there spawning right now and the Portuguese man of war prey on fish," says Reisinger.

As for the overwhelming numbers, there could be an explanation.

"It was possibly because of the winds and currents were just right to bring them all together in one spot and washed them up on the beach," says Reisinger.

Reisinger wants people to stay alert but not stay away. He says to avoid waters with the purple-bluish creatures.

"I try to walk in the water and try not to walk on them because there is toxins," says Clarke.

Clarke will just stay out of the water for now.

Topics: South Padre Island, jelly fish, Portuguese man of war

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