While it’s always a good idea to check the weather, water, and beach conditions before heading out to your favorite sands, it’ll be extra important in the coming days due to some hazardous marine life lurking about. Venomous Portuguese Man o’ Wars have been washing up on Florida’s east coast. As if the name alone isn’t scary enough, just wait until you see more of what they look like!
The Atlantic Beach Police Department posted a warning to their Facebook page earlier this week for Florida beachgoers and swimmers to watch out for these stinging jelly-like creatures following a few recent spottings.
Stinging evil plastic-bag memes aside, these guys are not to be messed with. The police department warns that even when washed up on the sand, they can still sting. So if you see one, they advise alerting a lifeguard immediately.
This terrifying close-relation to the jellyfish can be identified by its purple-blueish dorsal fin-esque head and very long tentacles that extend from the bottom. The National Ocean Service reports that these tentacles can grow as long as 100 feet.
In a report from Tampa Bay 10, Max Ervanian, a lifeguard from Jacksonville Beach, advised that if you do get stung, you should report to a lifeguard station immediately.
If you can't get to one and have to treat your sting yourself, Evarian explained that you should remove the tentacles and soak the spot in hot water.
Man o' War stings can pack a painful punch and leave welts on exposed skin, but they're rarely fatal. If you experience respiratory problems or contract a rash, call 911 for emergency assistance.
While they may look a lot like jellies and be closely related, did you know the Man o’ War isn’t actually a jellyfish?
They're a species of siphonophore, generally clear and gelatinous marine creatures made up of clones that all work together as one. Man o' Wars can sometimes be spotted floating together in clusters of 1,000 or more.
On your next beach day, be sure to pay close attention to colored beach flags that may indicate hazardous conditions, and keep your eyes peeled for these venomous alien-like creatures!