Runner finds giant jellyfish on Vanderbilt Beach

Reporter: Gina Tomlinson Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
“Pink Meanie”

Imagine you’re at the beach and you spot a giant jellyfish. That’s exactly what happened to one man who was running along Vanderbilt Beach in Collier County. WINK News Reporter Gina Tomlinson tells us if these giants are truly a danger.

Marine experts say tentacles on a specific type of jellyfish can extend around 70 feet. They call it the “Pink Meanie’ but scientists say it’s a rare find.

“Oh wow! My word!” said Gayle Spalding when she saw a picture of the “Pink Meanie.”

The four-foot-wide jellyfish was discovered by a Naples man during his run on Vanderbilt Beach.

“I would be getting security,” said Spalding.

People who frequent the beach, like Gayle Spalding, wanted to know if they should worry about being stung.

“One of my girlfriends did years ago and she was hospitalized so it can be dangerous if not handled properly,” Spalding said.

Doctor James Douglass, a marine biologist with FGCU, told Gina that although this jellyfish has a “mean” nickname, being stung by a “PinkMeanie” would hurt less than other jellyfish.

“It will feel like mosquito bites,” Douglass said. “This particular species is known to get very big but it’s just rare and that’s partly because it’s a predator.”

Unlike other jellyfish that feed on plankton, he says the “Pink Meanie” eats its own kind.

“The prey of this jellyfish, a moon jelly fish is quite abundant this time of year,” Douglass said. “So there are probably a few more of these pink meanies around because their prey is so abundant.”

But, because this type of jellyfish usually resides offshore, seeing the huge creature on Vanderbilt Beach was a rare occurrence.

“This is my happy place,” Spalding said. “And nothing’s going to take that away, no.”

The marine biologist said beachgoers have a higher chance of getting stung by a smaller Jellyfish like a Moon jelly at this time of year.

But, if you do happen to get stung, he says, the best thing to do is take some Benadryl. While jellyfish stings do hurt, they’re not life-threatening unless you’re allergic.

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