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In Pictures: Portuguese Man O' War on Scilly


Sightings of Portuguese Men O’ War are continuing around the islands.

Portuguese Men O' War at Halangy by Todd Stevens (click to enlarge images)

They have been spotted in locations including Halangy, Town Beach, Porthcressa, Porthmellon, Sharks Pit, Porthloo and Porth Hellick on St Mary's, Great Par on Bryher, Ganinnick, St Martins and St Agnes.

According to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, there have been an "unprecedented" number of sightings on beaches in Cornwall, with 144 reported in three days.

Portuguese Men O' War on Great Par beach by Richard Pearce

The RNLI said that Portuguese Men O' War washing up on beaches is not unusual, particularly after windy conditions.

Sightings on St Martins by Shazza Corr (left) and Andrew Harvey

The Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust has provided information and guidance about the Portuguese Man O' War, including the points below:

💧 It is not a Jellyfish, it is a siphonophore. It is more correctly a they; being a colonial organism made up of specialised individual animals (of the same species) called zooids or polyps.

💧 Also known as a Blue Bottle, these stunning creatures have no means of propulsion, moving according to the winds, currents and tides; hence why we are currently experiencing high numbers of them.

💧 Many of the ones washed up on our beaches have "lost" their long trailing tentacles but caution is still advised; they are a look and take photographs but DO NOT TOUCH type of beastie as their sting is incredibly painful.

💧 If you or your pets get stung then it is important to remember that standard Jellyfish Sting remedies DO NOT work and often make the sting worse! Best to rinse with salt water and do not rub (fresh water and other remedies recommended for Jellyfish stings have been shown to cause further nematocystic discharge from unfired nematocysts and therefore more pain).

💧 Then seek medical or veterinary attention.

Photos by Barefoot Photographer / Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust

The Wildlife Trust cautioned: "They can in some instances be deadly but please do not get embroiled and caught up in the current media hype about them. If you are concerned then stay away from the beaches that are currently experiencing onshore winds or just be vigilant whilst walking the coastline."

The Marine Conservation Society has asked to be informed of sightings of Portuguese Men O' War. This can be done via its website.

#Health #IOSWT

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