Small, gelatinous blobs along N.J. beaches are harmless salps, not sea lice

The little gelatinous, translucent blobs now making their annual appearance at New Jersey’s beaches are known as salps, and they’re harmless, an expert says.

Beachgoers along the Jersey Shore have reported seeing the seemingly endless salps, marine invertebrates, known as tunicates, that you might think are jellyfish, but they’re not, according to Dominick Solazzo, a coastal ecologist.

The salps have made their annual appearance as nutrients increase, floating near the shoreline and collecting and glistening on the wet sand — causing some to confuse them with sea lice.

Solazzo says they’re filter feeders that eat phytoplankton and move by pumping water through their bodies, which is a form of jet propulsion.

“Their slimness and appearance might be off-putting, but they’re nothing to worry about,” he says.

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