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Man-of-war stings reported at Brevard beaches

Flow of currents causing creatures to wash ashore

Portuguese man-of-war. Image from Oceana.org.
Portuguese man-of-war. Image from Oceana.org.

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Beachgoers should be aware of man-of-war washing up on the shore across Brevard County this weekend, lifeguards said. 

Some people were treated for stings from the neon blue blobs, Brevard County Ocean Lifeguard Chief Eisen Witcher told News 6 partner Florida Today. Many of those stings were not by swimmers in the water, but people picking up the jelly-like creatures in the sand.

Witcher advised people not to reach for the man-of-war.

Man-of-war, known for their intense, painful stings and venomous tentacles, are not jellyfish but actually siphonophores, which are made up of several different organisms sharing a communal purpose. They typically bob up along the surface of the water before washing up on the shoreline.

Man-of-war warnings were posted at some of the north county beaches Saturday, Witcher said. There were reports of stings as far south as the Sebastian River State Park. 

The flow of the currents are what cause the creatures to wash up, Witcher said. It can happen at various times of the year, with October being the last time lifeguards noticed this many man-of-war or sting reports, he said. 

Those experiencing a sting should contact a lifeguard or seek immediate medical attention.