Jellyfish with painful sting washes onto Jersey Shore beach
A jellyfish with a very painful sting has washed up on a Jersey Shore beach.
The Harvey Cedars Beach Patrol first reported the appearance of a Portuguese man o' war on Sunday morning thanks to winds coming from the northeast that allowed warm water from the Gulf stream to make it to shore.
Lifeguard Captain Randy Townsend tells CBS New York it's not the first time they've been found on a New Jersey beach but the first time in his 17 years as a lifeguard in Harvey Cedars he has seen one.
A man-o'-war floats on the surface of tropical waters and is usually found in the warm water pf the Florida Keys, Gulf Stream and Atlantic Ocean according to the University of Michigan's Museum of Zoology. It's described by the NOAA's National Marine Sanctuaries as a small colony of four types of polyps, each responsible for either floating, collecting food, eating or reproducing.
The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary explains that their name comes from their gas-filled bladder which looks like an 18th century Portuguese warship at full sail. Its blue balloon-like appearance enables the man o’ war to drift on currents on the surface of the water.
Sometimes called a "man of war," they are small in size, only six inches wide, but contact with its tentacles, which can drag behind it for 30-feet, "will result in a painful, intense sting, welting, and blistering." Beachgoer Emily Merchant told NBC New York she was once stung by a man o'war and thought she had been electrocuted.
Townsend advises not to touch the man o'war even if it appears to be dead as it can still sting you. He warns beachgoers to "always be aware of your surroundings in the ocean & always swim near a lifeguard."
- 'Very dangerous' jellyfish found on Harvey Cedars beach / Asbury Park Press
- Venomous Portuguese Man O’ War Washes Up On New Jersey Beach / CBS New York