Welcome to the wonderful world of Hilton Head’s jellyfish population! These captivating creatures are an integral part of the island’s marine ecosystem. From the graceful sea nettles to the quirky cannonballs, the jellyfish species are as diverse as they are fascinating.
In this blog, Beachside Hilton Head will introduce you to the world of Hilton Head’s jellyfish and provide you with everything you need to know to safely navigate their waters during your vacation.
Meet the Hilton Head Jellyfish
Get ready to discover the wonders of the two most abundant jellyfish species and learn how to make the most of your beach experience in Hilton Head.
Sea Nettle Jellyfish
The sea nettle jellyfish is a common species that can be found around Hilton Head Island. These jellyfish have bell-shaped bodies that can grow a few inches to several feet in diameter, depending on their age. The body can have a brown to reddish-orange coloration, with a distinctive crisscross pattern on the upper surface of the bell.
Sea nettle jellyfish can be spotted around May through October, with peak populations occurring in August and September. They congregate in large groups or “blooms,” which can make swimming in the waters more challenging.
The cannonball jellyfish, also known as the cabbage head jellyfish, is a common species in the waters of Hilton Head Island. These jellyfish have a distinctive round, “cannonball-like” shape with a smooth, gelatinous surface, typically light brown or yellowish color. Similarly, it can range in size from a few inches to over a foot in diameter.
Cannonball jellyfish commonly appear from June through September, with peak populations occurring in July and August. They also come in large groups or “blooms,” which can make swimming a little harder, but their non-stinging tentacles make them much less of a threat.
Safety Tips for Swimmers: What To Do When You Get Stung
The sea nettle jellyfish has long, trailing tentacles with stinging cells called nematocysts that stretch up to several feet in length. The sting can cause a burning or stinging sensation, as well as redness, swelling, and even blistering.
If you do get stung by a sea nettle jellyfish, get out of the water as soon as possible. Seek medical attention if the sting is really bad. Try rinsing the area with vinegar or salt water to neutralize the venom. Apply a hot compress to help alleviate the pain.
The cannonball jellyfish, on the other hand, has short, non-stinging tentacles. They feed mainly on plankton and small fish and are considered harmless to humans.
If you encounter a cannonball jellyfish while swimming, it’s best to simply avoid them or swim around them. However, there is no need to worry about getting stung.
These beautiful creatures are a vital part of Hilton Head’s underwater life, but they can also painfully sting unsuspecting swimmers.
Remember to always be cautious, keep an eye out for warning signs, and follow the safety information brought by Beachside Hilton Head. Go ahead and take the plunge, but stay safe and sting-free!