A mysterious burning, itchy sensation after a swim is usually the telltale sign of a jellyfish sting.
But in coastal mangroves and other subtropical ecosystems, snorklers and swimmers have long reported a similar sensation without ever coming in contact with a jellyfish. A phenomenon called “stinging water” is to blame, but the cause is unknown.
One potential culprit is a type of jellyfish belonging to the genus Cassiopea called the upside-down jellyfish, but they are missing a key appendage normally necessary to deal a stinging blow: spaghetti-like tentacles.
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