What’s with all the Portuguese Man O’ War jellyfish in Florida?
Reports of a large number of Portuguese Man O’ War jellyfish have led the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to warn beachgoers of their dangers.
Giving these creatures a wide berth is the best method of protection, as they are unable to propel themselves through the water and are subject to currents and wind.
As weather warms and people hit the beach, the Man O’ War poses a potential problem.
“The appearance of the Portuguese man-of-war on the beach is not uncommon,”FWC spokeswoman Rebekah Nelson said. “They are common year-round in high salinity offshore waters and may be pushed shoreward by winds and currents.”
The tentacles of the Man O’ War, which can stretch up to 90 feet, contain stinging cells with potent venom, used to disable passing fish. The public is being urged not to touch or handle them under any circumstances.
If a sting does occur, the tentacles should be removed and the spot can be treated with a topical pain killer. In some cases vinegar can help as well.