Beachgoers warned to watch out for toxic man-o’-war

| 15/01/2024 | 13 Comments
Portuguese man-o’-war (Photo courtesy of the DoE)

(CNS): The Department of Environment is warning people that it has received a number of reports of Portuguese man-o’-wars (Physalia physalis) washing up on South Sound beaches as a result of the recent weather conditions. The highly toxic siphonophores, which are not jellyfish but complex colonies of organisms, should never be touched.

Even when washed up on land, their thin, nearly invisible tentacles can still sting on contact. Beachgoers, especially those with children and pets, should exercise extreme caution and avoid any contact.

The colourful bladder of the Portuguese man-o’-war acts as a surface floatation and wind sail, as it floats passively across the ocean. Its venom-filled nematocysts are in the tentacles, which dangle below the water’s surface, sometimes reaching lengths of over 50 feet, to catch and paralyse small fish, crustaceans and other prey.

Anyone who gets stung can help ease the pain with vinegar and heat and seek medical attention if needed.


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Category: Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (13)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Included in immigration figures…

  2. Anonymous says:

    Men of war and bull sharks and bad tourist drivers, oh my!

  3. Anonymous says:

    If we had installed man-o-war friendly lighting they’d still be alive.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Must be climate change, eh?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Nope. Winter storms (that are normal) bring them in from time to time. I think you are being sarcastic but just in case you are not.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I’d still rather see these on the beach over a load of higglers.

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  6. Al Catraz says:

    “ Portuguese man-o’-wars “

    Shouldn’t it be “men-o’-war”?

    Like “kings of France” instead of “king of Frances”.

    CNS: I actually spent time looking this up because I wasn’t sure. You are correct that you usually make compound nouns plural by pluralizing the principle noun. So lady-in-waiting becomes ladies-in-waiting, mother-in-law becomes mothers-in-law, and man-of-war (or man-‘o-war) when it refers to a warship becomes men-of-war. It’s not a hard and fast rule, though. We don’t have checks-in or hits-and-run.

    Both Britannica and Merriam-Webster say that the plural of Portuguese man-of-war can be either Portuguese man-of-wars or Portuguese men-of-war. Neither give the alternative Portuguese man-‘o-war, but this is used extensively elsewhere, including by NOAA.

    So I decided to use the plural that I believe is grammatically correct and sounds right in the local vernacular.

    Sadly, I suspect you’re the only person who noticed. Thank you for caring!

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Strong current from the south combined with a south east breeze =🪼

    Thimbals next?? Haven’t seen them for years!

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