MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Multiple sightings of Portuguese Man o’ War have been reported this week along area beaches, from North Myrtle Beach to Surfside Beach.
A member of the National Weather Service sent a statement on Wednesday saying they have received word from a North Myrtle Beach lifeguard that “a couple hundred” Man o’ War have washed ashore. One’s tentacle measured 16 feet, according to the report.
A viewer submitted a photo of a Man o’ War found on the beach between 35th Avenue South between Atlantic Beach and the North Myrtle Beach city limits.
Another viewer sent a photo of one found at Surfside beach, south of the pier.
When there are large numbers of them in an area, it is best to avoid swimming, according to Oceana. Their sting can be very painful. It is a predatory species, using its feeding tentacles to sting and paralyze small fishes.
Fun facts about the Portuguese Man o’ War from Oceana
1. The Portuguese man o’ war is not a jellyfish, but rather a siphonophore, which is a colony of specialized animals called zooids that work together as one.
2. The Portuguese man o’ war doesn’t swim. Instead, it uses wind and ocean currents to propel it forward.
3. The Portuguese man o’ war was named after its resemblance to 18th century Portuguese warships.1
4. The Portuguese man o war’s float can be up to 6 inches (15 cm) tall.
5. The Portuguese man o’ war’s tentacles grow as long as 165 feet (50 m).2