Little critter mauling Mount beach goers

An extreme example of being bitten by the Mount mauler. File photo.

As temperatures reach sweltering levels in the Bay of Plenty, more and more people are heading to the beaches to cool down.

But there is one little critter hiding in the sand waiting to pounce. The dreaded Mount mauler is back and is making some people think twice about going to the beach.

Dion's first new year swim at the Mount on January 1 was met with the unusual sensation of small sharp stings while in the breakers.

Two days later, Dion was itching from head to foot.

"The nicknamed "Mt Mauler", also known as "Sea Bathers Eruption", is not in fact an actual sea lice but the small larvae of the Thimble jellyfish.

"The bite like rash mainly occurs where the tiny Thimble Jellyfish are trapped between skin areas such as armpits or the groin and under swimming garments where they press against the skin.

"The symptoms range from mild to severe depending on the individual allergic reaction.

"Symptoms can persist anywhere from 3 days to 2 months after exposure to the stings."

Dion says they seem to congregate in patches along the coast.

"From my personal experience, if you encounter the stinging sensation while swimming, either move back into shallower water or move along the beach 100M and try again."

Dion's reaction. Supplied photo.

For those new to the Mount and Papamoa, the ‘Mount mauler’ is the local name for a kind of beach insect that lives principally above the high-tide mark.

In the past, sunbathers have complained of coming home and finding themselves covered in bites, although most people only get them on their feet from walking across the dry sand.

To avoid being bitten by the Mount mauler, people are advised to stay below the high-tide mark, and spray themselves and their towels with insect repellent.

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They're in the sand

Posted on 05-01-2022 06:08 | By

I used to nearly live at the beach but never swam and was often bitten by these critters. They’re in the sand not the water from my experience anyway and that was going back at least 15 years ago.

Tuapiro pt

Posted on 04-01-2022 19:37 | By

Is where me and the wife had our incident last year with these blighters . Intense itching and welts for a couple of weeks.dermaid and antihistamines were our only relief

Does Anyone Know

Posted on 04-01-2022 12:00 | By

What, if anything, is being or can be done about these little critters? They make it unworthwhile (is that even a word) visiting the Mount beach.

Jellyfish larvae?

Posted on 04-01-2022 11:27 | By morepork

So how is it that for decades we could sunbathe safely on the beaches, but over the last few years, there has been this infestation? Tauranga is a centre for Marine Biology. Is there nothing that can be done about this? What would naturally keep these jelly fish down? Fish? Oh, yeah, that’s right, we caught all the fish...

Not ONLY in the water!!!

Posted on 04-01-2022 10:58 | By Bruja

I don’t swim at all and had it happen to me while sitting on dry sand by the dunes, nowhere near the water. Very tiny white larva in the sand.