STONE HARBOR, New Jersey – Officials say more Portuguese man-of-wars are making their way onto New Jersey’s beaches. Its poisonous tentacles can easily grow to between 10 and 30 feet, and can sometimes reach an astonishing length of 160 feet.
“There are reports of swarms of man-of-wars occurring in many regions, including along the Jersey Shore”, the state Poison Information and Education System in a statement this week.
“The tentacles can sting long after the man-of-war dies”, Hartney told NJ.com readers.
“Their stings are among the most painful and if somebody is allergic to bee stings or something like that, you can go into shock,” Dr. Paul Bologna, associate professor of biology at Montclair State University said. “So they’re around, but you need the right combination of the Gulf Stream and coastal winds to bring them to this area”. If you’re swimming, be aware of where you are – it’s their environment, not ours. These man o’ wars, though, are rare sights on the Island.
Trystin Figell, Jenkinson’s Aquarium marine biologist informed that Portuguese man o’ war, are usually found in warmer waters, like off Florida’s coast.
For the past few weeks, lifeguards on Long Beach Island have been verbally warning swimmers to stay out of the water whenever one of these venomous critters washes ashore, according to Randy Townsend, lifeguard captain of the Harvey Cedars Beach Patrol. Apply isopropyl alcohol or vinegar until the pain has subsided, then apply a thin layer of hydrocortisone cream to the wound until it is healed. Head for dry land, lift off any tentacle remnants (with an object like a stick, though – not your hands) and quickly wash the wound with seawater, not fresh water. Moreover, a man-of-war is what is called a siphonophore, meaning it is not a single animal but a colony of organisms working together.
While man o’ wars are rare, they are not unheard of in New Jersey.
Finally, seek medical care immediately if you’re having a bad sting reaction. Original article on Live Science.