Lifeguards in Long Beach Island recently discovered a Portuguese Man-O-War washed ashore on a beach.
A Harvey Cedars Beach Patrol spokesperson says lifeguards found it on Friday. Dr. Paul Bologna, a marine ecology professor at Montclair State University, confirmed the finding.
The Portuguese Man-O-War is a predatory siphonophore that gets its name from the float, a gas-filled bladder that can grow up to a foot in length and rise out of the water up at six inches. The creature has very long tentacles that can grow up to 32 feet.
According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the Portuguese Man-O-War can inflict “extremely painful stings,” resulting in a severe shooting pain. Treatment advice is available here.
While commonly found in the tropics, their presence is not unheard of in regional waters.
Numerous were found washed ashore on New Jersey beaches in recent years.
One study found that 50 million people swim in the waters off the United States annually, while an expert noted 50 deaths per year attributed to jellyfish worldwide.