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SIDMOUTH, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 17: Jellyfish that have been washed up on Sidmouth beach by yesterday's ex-hurricane Ophelia are seen in Sidmouth on October 17, 2017 in Devon, England. People have been warned to take extra care close to the coastline today after reports of deadly Portugese man o'war being washed inland by ex-hurricane Ophelia. The so called 'Floating Terror', which is in fact not a jellyfish but a floating colony, has long tentacles that can cause a painful sting and be fatal in extremely rare cases. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

A deadly jellyfish, the Portuguese Man o’ War, has been spotted off the coast at a North Carolina Beach . According to Wikipedia, “The Portuguese man o’ war, also known as the man-of-war, bluebottle, or floating terror is a marine hydrozoan found in the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean.” Its sting is powerful enough to kill its prey and has on occasion killed humans. The sting is particularly painful and causes welts on the skin.

What does it look like? The Portuguese Man o’ War has a balloon-like float, typically blue, violet, or pink in color, that rises up to six inches above the water. Its long tentacles grow to an average of 30 feet and may extend by as long as 100 feet. Several have recently been spotted at Carolina Beach causing officials to put out a purple flag. The purple flag indicates that dangerous marine life is present in the water. In addition to the sightings, several other jellyfish stings have been reported to Carolina Beach Ocean Rescue. If you see a purple flag flying at the beach use caution and consider staying out of the ocean for the time being.

“We had an abundance of jellyfish and man o’ wars out on the beach and a lot of people were getting stung, so we went ahead and just flew the purple flag just to let everybody know that there was a marine life out there that was a hazard,” Wallace told WWAY. Thankfully no one has reported being stung by a man o’ war. If you are planning a trip keep an eye out for this or other deadly jellyfish at Carolina Beach.

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