If you’re swimming at the Jersey Shore, look out for the Man o’ War. Authorities with the Harvey Cedars Beach Patrol say one of the deadly Portuguese jellyfish-like creatures, also called the Man of War, washed up on shore on Sunday, and they have advised beachgoers to swim with caution. “When the wind is coming […]

By Amy Jamieson
June 24, 2015 03:20 PM

If you’re swimming at the Jersey Shore, look out for the Man o’ War.

Authorities with the Harvey Cedars Beach Patrol say one of the deadly Portuguese jellyfish-like creatures, also called the Man of War, washed up on shore on Sunday, and they have advised beachgoers to swim with caution.

“When the wind is coming from the northeast, warm water from the Gulf Stream comes to shore,” reads a Facebook post with a photo of the electric-colored creature. “With the warm water, often comes seaweed & critters from down south. Always be aware of your surroundings in the ocean & always swim near a lifeguard.”

Paul Bologna, a jellyfish expert and the director of the Marine Biology and Coastal Sciences Program at Montclair State University, told New Jersey’s Asbury Park Press that these guys – which are not jellyfish, according to National Geographic, but a siphonophore – are nothing to mess around with.

“They’re very, very dangerous, very painful sting,” said Bologna. “In some cases, they can be life-threatening.”

The Man o’ War sting looks like whiplashes on skin, which is caused by irritant substances, according to Medicinenet.com. (Pictures of that are here, if you dare.)

While Bologna is unaware of anyone being stung in New Jersey, he told the Asbury Park Press he knows of “quite a few people” in the tropics and “most of them report [an] unbelievably painful sting,” which can lead to scarring.

Spotting the brilliantly colored fish in water is easier than you might think. “People … need to be aware of their surroundings because these are going to be on the surface,” he said. “You should be able to see that float if you’re in the water.”

If you see one onshore, step away: their stinging cells are still active when they wash up, Bologna said.

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