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Mystery Of 10,000 Jellyfish Washed Ashore At Ocean Beach Solved

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5 / AP / BCN) ― Thousands of dinner plate-size jellyfish have been washing ashore and leaving a shimmering slick of gooey invertebrates on Ocean Beach, but experts said Monday that the beachings aren't unusual.

Heavy ocean swells apparently carried the by-the-wind sailors to the beach starting Friday night and continuing through the weekend until an estimated 10,000 jellies were trapped on the sand.

The beachings, spanned an area three miles long and 20 feet wide, between Pacheco and Lawton streets, attracted hordes of onlookers on Saturday and Sunday.

Kids kicked them, dogs rolled in them and surfers tossed them like Frisbees.

"It was huge, like a cobblestone walkway made of jellyfish," said National Park Service spokesman George Durgerian.

The jellyfish coating Ocean Beach are a fairly common breed called moon jellies, he noted, which have a mild sting that rarely penetrates human skin.

"These were jellyfish like you think they look like -- large, circular, translucent and gelatinous," he said.

Experts said there was no need for a planned cleanup for the jellyfish, as the tides would eventually carry them all away.

Durgerian said he witnessed a similar incident seven years ago at Ocean Beach involving by-the-wind sailor jellyfish, also known as Valella jellyfish.

"They kind of look like a windsurfer," Durgerian said, adding that Valella are typically deep blue in color.

(© CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Asscoiated Press and Bay City News contributed to this report.)

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