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Bathers warned to watch their step in Southern California coastal waters

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image Stingray, Myliobatis californica. Wikipedia

An increase in the number of people stung by stingrays this week prompts warning to tread lightly.

They’re big. They’re flat. They hug the sandy bottoms of shallow coastal waters. They’re not know to attack people unless provoked, like say being stepped on. They’re stingrays, or Myliobatis californica, and lifeguards along the Southern California coast in San Diego are warning bathers to watch where they wade.

“Watch where you step,” said lifeguard Lt. Nick Lerma, after at least two dozen people were stung by stingrays this week in the shallow water along San Diego’s La Jolla (pronounced La Hoya) Shores.

Two people were in need of hospitalization, while the others were treated at the scene by lifeguards.

While stingrays being sighted very close to shore isn’t unusual, having so many people stung in such a short period of time is out of the ordinary, a lifeguard said.

Rays are relatives of sharks and have a stinger in their tails that they use for self-defense. They flatten their bodies and hug the sandy bottom and are hard to distinguish from the sea floor. It’s recommended that waders use a shuffling gait, which scares the rays away, thus avoiding a painful, if not harmful, sting.

The appearance of stingrays so close to shore coincidently coincided with an influx of an odd type of jellyfish, the black jelly. that like most jellies, delivers a painful sting that often requires medical treatment.

Although black jellyfish aren’t normally found in coastal waters, there's a growing tendency for them to encroach into the shallows over the last few years.


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