A popular Auckland beach has been inundated with small jellyfish as swimmers flock to the beach to cool off this week.

The jellies’ presence at Takapuna Beach, on the North Shore, didn’t deter people from taking a dip, but one swimmer told 1News they were cautious as they didn’t know if they were harmless or not.

“I’m not putting my head under just in case,” a female beachgoer said yesterday as she swam among the tiny clear jellyfish with a red dot in the centre.

There is good news for those taking a dip in the briny this summer though.

University of Auckland dive safety officer and marine science researcher Paul Caiger identified them as crimson jellyfish, stating they are common to our shores and harmless to humans.

“They are very common in the summer months and not harmful at all,” he said. “In short, they’re awesome little jellies!”

Caiger explained how they are closely related to the immortal jellyfish (turritopsis dohrni), which can go back and forth between juvenile and adult when there is no food around.

“It’s unclear yet whether the NZ ones can do that,” he said.

Crimson jellyfish (turritopsis rubra) are native to New Zealand and southern Australia and will usually visit close to our shorelines from December to March.

Mayo Clinic’s tips for treating a jellyfish sting

1. Carefully pluck visible tentacles with a fine tweezers.

2. Soak the skin in hot water. Use water that’s 110 to 113F (43 to 45C). It should feel hot, not scalding. Keep the affected skin immersed or in a hot shower until the pain eases, which might be 20 to 45 minutes.

3. Apply 0.5% to 1% hydrocortisone cream or ointment twice a day to the affected skin.

Things to avoid:

  • Scraping out stingers
  • Rinsing with human urine
  • Rinsing with cold, fresh water
  • Applying meat tenderiser
  • Applying alcohol, ethanol or ammonia
  • Rubbing with a towel
  • Applying pressure bandages

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