Portuguese man of war

Dreamstime

Dangerous Portuguese Man-Of-War Washes Up On New Jersey Beach

July 09, 2018 - 1:38 pm
Categories: 

CAPE MAY, N.J. (WCBS 880) -- If you're swimming at the Jersey Shore this summer -- watch out.

A Portuguese man-of-war was found washed up on Wildwood Crest Beach on Thursday. 

Related to the jellyfish, Portuguese man-of-war are colonial organisms that work together like a beehive. It isn't unusual for them to wash up along the Jersey Shore this time of year, according to marine biologist Dr. Paul Bologna. They come from the tropics and travel up the Gulf Stream.

He said what is unusual is that the one that washed up last week was fully intact.

"Most of the time when the Portuguese man-of-war wash up on our beaches they get churned up in the surf, they just get kind of rolled around and torn up and most of the tentacles are ripped off," Bologna said.

He says the Portuguese man-of-war is most dangerous in the open water, where it has the ability to cause a nasty sting, or even kill.

"If they're on the beach and you accidentally step on one it's probably not going to be that dangerous, it might be quite painful, but it's probably not going to be all that much," Bologna said.

Authorities say if you see one, alert a lifeguard or beach patrol member. Officials say they will be fully equipped to bury the jellyfish in at least 3-feet of sand in order for the animal to decay.