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We had a paddleboard race on Saturday from Goleta beach to Leadbetter beach and for the first two miles saw hundreds of large, brown jellyfish. So I wondered what species and how bad their sting is, they looked gnarly (scientific term)!? They were about 1 foot in diameter and looked like kelp bubbles when the wind caught the edge of their top. Long, 2ft+ tentacles. Fortunately no one was stung to my knowledge.
Question Date: 2010-04-26
Answer 1:

That sounds like it was quite an exciting encounter. I'm actually not familiar with the jellyfish around here, but from your description it sounds like it could have been Chrysaora fuscescens, also known as the Pacific sea nettle. It's said to be off the California coast, with a body that can reach 3 feet in diameter (though most are about 1.5 feet), and tentacles that can be 12 to 15 feet long (!). From pictures I saw, it looks brown/tan in coloring. Here's some information on it:

If that doesn't sound like what you saw, we have many knowledgeable faculty at UCSB in the marine biology department who may have a much better answer.

Hope that helps!

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