Portuguese man o' war are washing up on Virginia beaches

Cheryl E Preston

Portuguese man o'warPhoto byYoutube screenshot

Watch out for man o' war on Virginia beaches

Portuguese Man o’ war are a collection of genetically identical lifeforms that look like jellyfish and function together as one being. The name comes from the fact that as a group these animals resemble an 18rh century Portuguese battleship. Man o’ war have an inflated air sack that is used to keep the sea creatures on top of the water and helps them navigate the oceans. Virginia Beachgoers from the Outer Banks to the Chesapeake Bay are reporting seeing these organisms whose sting is pretty painful but not deadly to humans.

The air sacks of a man o' war have a range in color from translucent pink or purple to dark blue. Their tentacles are equipped with stingers that are used to catch and paralyze prey for food. These creatures can grow as long as 30 feet but are unable to direct their own movement. They get around by being transported by air and water currents which are how these tropical warm-water, animals ended up in Virginia's oceans.

Portuguese man' o warPhoto byYoutube screenshot

Steer clear of these jellyfish-like creatures

Kaitlin Wills with the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island told Wavy News the following. “We’ve had a lot of windy weather lately, so it could be why we’re seeing them more frequently now. “Sometimes it’s seasonal. They’re going to be a lot of times found in groups, and the currents and wind will push them up the Gulf Stream or in towards shore,”

Willis said to tread carefully on Virginia beaches and if you see a Portuguese man o' war steer clear. Do not walk close to them and do not attempt to pick one up. The man o' war is deceptive because it looks beautiful on the outside but carries a deadly sting.

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I am a native Virginian who writes, about breaking news, nutrition, history, celebrities, and current events that are of interest to those living in the Commonwealth.

Roanoke, VA

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