Thousands of jellyfish wash ashore on South Padre Island

Thousands of jellyfish have washed up on the shores of South Padre Island. // Photo via Louis Balderas, Jr.

Catherine Penz and her husband Pat Rakowski are Winter Texans from Canada.

They love visiting South Padre Island because they enjoy the fishing but they spotted something strange while reeling in their catch near Beach Access Six on Monday.

"I dont know why, but everywhere on the beach here there were quite a few of them, Rakowski said. I was kind of surprised."

Rakowski said he and his wife have been coming to South Padre Island for five years and have never seen so many.

Viewer Louis Balderas sent a picture of what happened to the Action 4 News Facebook Fan Page.

It shows what seem to be hundreds of Portuguese Man-O-War jellyfish - on the shores of the north end of South Padre Island.

The photo has been circulating among Rio Grande Valley residents on Facebook and Twitter.

Tony Reisinger is a coastal resources agent with the State of Texas.

He told Action 4 News that the concentration of man-o-war jellyfish was in an isolated area several miles north of Beach Access Six

Reisinger said that the jellyfish likely washed ashore after preying on fish in the area.

"They go where there's food and they depend on the wind and we usually have what we call blooms in different areas and right now there's a lot of fish that are spawning, he said.

Reisinger warns people not to touch the man-o-war because even out of the water, certain parts of the jellyfish are poisonous and could sting..

"If you touch the tentacles, they will stick little tiny harpoons into your body with a toxin on them so that it will affect you, he said.

Anyone who gets stung is asked to remove any part still stuck to their skin and try soothing the sting with meat tenderizer.

Reisinger said although it may not have been a typical site, there's nothing unusual about the amount of jellyfish that washed up to shore.

He said there's nothing to do at this point, but let mother nature take its course.

City of South Padre Island officials told Action 4 News that the jellyfish are not on city beaches and that they are safe to visit.

City of South Padre Island Statement:

The City of South Padre Island beaches are clear from the presence of jellyfish and are safe to visit. The concentration of jellyfish that was reported was in an isolated area several miles north of County Beach Access #6.

An extensive patrol was conducted by city staff and a minor presence of jellyfish was visible along City beaches.

City beaches are currently not being impacted by the influx of jellyfish that washed up yesterday at the county beaches to the north, said Coastal Resources Manager, Reuben Trevio.

As a precaution, City staff recommends being careful while visiting the beach and enjoying the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

If encountering a jellyfish, please avoid contact. For more information please contact Coastal Resources Manager, Reuben Trevio at (956) 761-3035 or at