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NY Post
New York Post
16 Dec 2023

NextImg:Portuguese man o’ wars washing up on Florida beaches due to heavy wind

New Yorkers flocking to Florida for some holiday fun in the sun will have to watch out for these sea creatures that can cause painful bites.

Portuguese Man o’ wars — stinging marine animals related to the jellyfish with 30-foot tentacles — are washing up on beaches in South Florida due to the recent heavy wind in the region, the Miami Herald reported.

The species, which doesn’t swim, gets its name from the way it floats above the water, resembling the sails of 18th-century Portuguese warships, according to the National Ocean Service.

They are known to emerge on shorelines in late fall and winter when windy weather picks up.

“My ‘hunch’ is there is a seasonal shift in tradewinds, currents, or occurrence/frequency of winter storms that creates an onshore flow, driving the animals onto the beaches of south Florida in the winter,” William “Monty” Graham, director of the Florida Institute of Oceanography, told the outlet.

A seasonal shift in the winds off South Florida has sent the creatures washing up on beaches. AP

Their long tentacles, which contain venom that can kill small fish, can extend 100 feet.

Although its sting is rarely deadly to humans, it is painful and causes welts to form on the skin.