the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Wildwood Crest NJ, For the fourth consecutive summer season, a Portuguese man-of-war has been found on a New Jersey beach, This time at Wildwood Crest on Thursday.
The Portuguese man-of-war is a predatory siphonophore that gets its name from the float, a gas-filled bladder that can grow up to a foot in length and rise out of the water up at six inches. The creature has very long tentacles that can grow up to 32 feet.
According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the Portuguese man-of-war can inflict “extremely painful stings,” resulting in a severe shooting pain.
The man-of-war’s polyps contain cnidocytes delivering a potent proteic neurotoxin capable of paralyzing small fish. For humans, most stings cause red welts accompanied by swelling and moderate to severe pain. These local symptoms last for two to three days.
Systemic symptoms are less frequent, but potentially severe. They may include generalized malaise, vomiting, fever, elevated heart rate at rest (tachycardia), shortness of breath and muscular cramps in the abdomen and back. Severe allergic reactions to the man-of-war’s venom may interfere with cardiac and respiratory function, so divers should always seek a timely professional medical evaluation.
There are two species for the genus: Physalia physalis in the Atlantic and Physalia utriculus in the Indo-Pacific. The Atlantic man-of-war may reach slightly larger dimensions, with the gas bladder rarely exceeding one foot (30 centimeters) and tentacles averaging 33 feet (10 meters) and possibly extending up to 165 feet (50 meters).
Though many people mistake the Portuguese man-of-war for a species of jellyfish, this genus belongs to the order Siphonophora, a class of hydrozoans. What we see as a single specimen is actually a colony composed of up to four different types of polyps. Despite its resemblance, these animals are more closely related to fire coral than to jellyfish.
The Portuguese man-of-war is easily recognizable; if you see blue tentacles, you can bet they belong to Physalia.
One study found that 50 million people swim in the waters off the United States annually, while an expert noted 50 deaths per year are attributed to jellyfish worldwide.
However NON have been spotted at Graydon Pool .