BENIGN MOON JELLIES ABOUND; 'IT APPEARS TO BE A GOOD YEAR'

Lately, local waters have been teeming with aurelia aurita, benign jellyfish often called moon jellies.

"It appears to be a good year for them," Brae Rafferty, senior instructor at Project Oceanology in Groton, said Wednesday. "They tend to build up in some areas, depending on the winds and tides."

Rafferty said he's been noticing an abundance of moon jellies over the last week or so during daily educational excursions onto local waters from Project O's docks.

"We've been going out since March, and we've just started catching them in our smaller nets," he said. Usually, he added, moon jellies start appearing around mid-May, but the cool spring delayed them a couple of weeks.

They appear translucent or with an "orangy cast," Rafferty added, and shouldn't be confused with the larger red lion's mane jellyfish that usually show up later in the summer and have a painful sting.

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