Invasion of the Icky

Millions of mussels washing up along local beaches

Yuck. Mussels and clam worms (aka jelly worms) are washing up along area beaches.

The mussels were a foot deep in Margate at the Washington Avenue beach Sunday and "millions" washed up in Ventnor near Newport Avenue, moving people back from the water's edge.

"It's pretty heavy, the heaviest we've seen in a few years," said Margate Beach Patrol Lt. Joe Cincotta.

In Atlantic City and Brigantine, swimmers were put off by an invasion of clam worms on the sand. They won't hurt you. You just have to deal with the ick factor.

"I wanna stay away from them," said vacationer Amy Watterson. "I don't even want to go into the water if they're in there."

The worms are scavengers that feed in shallow waters on other worms and algae. They protect themselves by oozing out a mucus-like substance that hardens around them. They can grow up to six inches long,  but most are much smaller.

No one's cleaning up, so you'll just have to bear it and hope the stench doesn't get too bad. "You don't disturb anything down by the ocean, you don't wanna disrupt any sea life," said Capt. Mike Cincotta with the Margate Beach Patrol.

The ocean's expected to reclaim the bivalves in a day or two.

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