The highly toxic Portuguese Man-of-war have appeared by the dozens on three or more Jersey Shore beaches.

A Portuguese man o’ war washed up on the beach in Harvey Cedars (Harvey Cedars Beach Patrol)

Surf City Councilman Peter Hartney tells the Asbury Park Press dozens of the creatures washed up on the beaches of the Ocean County community on Saturday. Hartney says lifeguards are picking them up as they come across them with plastic sandwich guards and throwing them in the garbage

Ocean City Fire Chief Chris Bruenig says only one was reported on the beach on Sunday. "We're not sounding the alarm yet. Obviously we're going to monitor the situation," Bruenig tells the Press of Atlantic City, "and hopefully it doesn't turn into an epidemic."

Ann Delaney tells NJ.com that she came across the man-of-war while she walked the beach in Stone Harbor.

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" according to the National Marine Sanctuaries. Beachgoers are warned to never handle a man-of-war as they can deliver their painful sting even when dead.

Hartney believes that warm water and strong winds have helped to create a colony of man-of-wars off the Jersey Shore.  "Our land happens to be in the direction of the wind and waves. And the water is warm, which is keeping them alive. They probably have enough food to sustain themselves," he tells NJ.com.

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