While great white shark sightings evoke more fear, in San Diego a much smaller shark relative is generating its own scare and inflicting actual pain.
Stingrays have moved into the shallows and a whopping 41 people were treated for wounds on Wednesday alone.
Most of the stings occurred in the La Jolla Shores area, which was where a great white shark sighting resulted in a swimming ban earlier this month.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that a "makeshift triage area" was set up at La Jolla Shores, "where people soaked injured feet in buckets of hot water."
Stingrays often gather in the surf zone in many areas off Southern California during the summer, especially when the surf is calm, which has been the case lately.
At least one person was taken to the hospital with a non-life-threatening injury, but most of the sting victims limped away after the initial period of severe pain. (Stingrays feature poisonous barbs on their tails, used only in self-defense.)
San Diego-area swimmers might also wish to exercise caution -- by shuffling their feet through the sand instead of stepping -- is the stretch of beach within Torrey Pines State Reserve.
I walked that stretch Sunday and Monday and saw at least 50 small stingrays (probably round stingrays) gathered in ankle-deep water.
-- Pete Thomas
-- Image of a round stingray is courtesy of the Cal State University of Long Beach Shark Lab