“Beachgoers are advised if they find a man-of-war washed up in the beach to advise a lifeguard of the location of and not to touch it as the tentacles can still sting”. He said the beaches should be attractive once the weather clears. Upon closer inspection though, they realized the blobs were not plastic bags, but Portuguese man-of-war.
The first reported sighting was last week in Harvey Cedars on Long Beach Island and more have been found throughout southern New Jersey’s coastline. (Harvey Cedars is about 70 miles up the coast from Stone Harbor.).
Surf City Councilman Peter Hartney reports that more than two dozen such creatures have been washing up on the shore of his 0.9-square-mile borough since about 10:30 a.m.
Hartney attributed the creatures’ journey to the Island to the breeze, bringing in seaweed, warm water and all sorts of marine life from the Gulf Stream.
“Our land happens to be in the direction of the wind and waves”, he said. It gets its name from the uppermost polyp, a gas-filled bladder, or pneumatophore, which sits above the water and somewhat resembles an old warship at full sail. “They probably have enough food to sustain themselves”.
The man-of-war is part of a group related to the jellyfish, according to National Geographic. According to Hartney, the tentacles of the man o’ war can extended to 165 feet, though averaging 30.
Beachgoer Emily Merchant says she was stung by a Portuguese man-of-war as a child in Hawaii.
Although rarely deadly, the sting of the man-of-war is exceptionally painful. If you’re swimming, be aware of where you are – it’s their environment, not ours. “But this is different”.
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