Portuguese man o’ war, also known as the man-of-war, has been spotted on Virginia beaches. Virginia beachgoers from the Outer Banks to the Chesapeake Bay have reported seeing those sea creatures. They are not deadly to humans, but they have a painful sting. The collection of Portuguese man o' war looks like jellyfish and functions together as one. People at Virginia beaches are warned to watch out for them.
The name comes from the look of the 18th-century Portuguese battleship because of the inflated air sack that keeps them on top of the water and helps them navigate the water.
About Portuguese man o' war
The man o' war is easy to spot because of the range in color from translucent pink or purple to dark blue. Their tentacles are equipped with stingers they use to catch and paralyze their prey for food. Even though they can grow to 30 feet long, they are unable to determine their own movement and are carried around by air and water currents. That's how those sea creatures move around in Virginia oceans and have washed up on Virginia beaches.
Kaitlin Wills with the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island told WAVY News:
“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. We’ve had a lot of windy weather lately, so it could be why we’re seeing them more frequently now."
Willis warns beachgoers to watch out for Portuguese man o' war on Virginia beaches. She encourages people not to walk close to them and never attempt to pick one up.