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Seaside New England is known for rocky shores, seafood shacks, chance whale sightings and, in recent months, lots of gooey, tentacled blobs.
The Gulf of Maine and some of its beaches, ever popular with tourists, have recorded a high number of sightings of a big jellyfish that has the ability to sting swimmers and occasionally does.
Lion - Mane - Jellyfish - Variety - Feet
The lion's mane jellyfish, the largest known variety, can grow to five or more feet across, with tentacles more than 100 feet long.
Such giant jellyfish are uncommon, but beachgoers say larger than average ones have been exceptionally plentiful this year in the gulf, which touches Maine, two other states and two Canadian provinces.
Becky - Rice-Barnes - Mariaville - Husband - Jimmy
Becky Rice-Barnes of Mariaville and her husband Jimmy were out digging for claims at Maine's Lamoine Beach recently when they found a five-foot specimen washed ashore.
"My husband said you're not going to believe what's over here, and I didn't," Rice-Barnes said. "We've seen red jellyfish before, we've just never seen a red jellyfish that's huge."
Summer - Nick - Record - Research - Scientist
Jellyfish are tracked each summer by Nick Record, a senior research scientist at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay, Maine. Typically fewer than half the jellyfish reported are lion's manes. This year, almost all of several hundred jellyfish observed were the lion's mane variety. The exact number of total jellyfish sightings isn't available yet, but Record said it's on pace to be in the typical range of 300 to 700.
Unlike other jellyfish common off Maine, they're not entirely translucent. In the water, they resemble a drifting fireball, and when washed on land...
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