There are two very different kinds of sea lice. The first are parasitic copepods in the family Caligidae. They attach externally attach themselves to fish then feed on their skin, tissue and blood. Sea lice is a major problem for both wild and commercially farmed salmon as well as other common salt water fish.

The second type of ‘sea lice’ is actually larvae of thimble jellyfish (linuche unguiculata) that sting when trapped beneath a bathing suit. Also know as seabathers eruption, ‘sea lice’ are smaller than a grain of sand and common along the southern coast of Florida and the Caribbean islands between the months of March and July. Symptoms usually surface about four to ten hours after swimming in the ocean and include a rash or large bumps where stung and intense itching that can last up to two weeks. More severe reactions include fever, nausea, headaches and muscle spasms.

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