They may be smaller but they are just as painful, warns Marine Biologist Lewis Stagnetto about the most recent influx of Portuguese Man O’ War in Gibraltar’s waters over the weekend.
“Although rare at this time of year, the reoccurrence of the Portuguese Man O’ War is due to the storms we have had lately,” said Mr Stagnetto.
“The latest influx seems to have brought some smaller specimens which are far harder to spot but pleased be warned, their sting is just as painful,” he added.
The public is advised that washed up colonies can still sting and to consult their doctor or vet should this happen.
The amount of plastics in our oceans is one of the reasons there has been an increase in the number of Portuguese Man O’ War.
“A top predator is turtles whose numbers are being reduced drastically through plastic ingestion or entanglements,” Mr Stagnetto said.
“Fewer predators mean an increase in the number of these organisms surviving as any beach goer can attest to.”
Typically, each colony of Portuguese Man O’ War lives for around one year.
The Portuguese Man O’ War [its scientific name is siphonophore Physalia physalis] are commonly mistaken as jellyfish.
In a press release over the weekend TNP described them stating “each bladder is a colony of animals so best think of them as small floating cites. Each tentacle is a separate animal unlike the true jellyfish.”
Pic by Eyleen Sheil