Ewwwww ew ew ew! The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is warning Palmetto state beachgoers that this could be a painful beach season if you're not keeping an eye out for the Portugeuse man-o-war. First off, the POMWR isn't actually a jellyfish (despite it's appearance and tenticles); according to the DNR, "while it may look something like other well-known jellyfish, with its conspicuous float and trailing tentacles, according to scientists the man-of-war is not a true jellyfish (true jellyfish are those that belong to the class Scyphozoa). Furthermore, the man-of-war is not a single animal. It is actually a colony of numerous organisms called polyps (or zooids) that are so specialized that they cannot live without each other.
The Tybee Island (Georgia) Marine Science Center says winds from the south have pushed the gnarly beasts further up north than usual, and are washing up on coastal Georgia and South Carolina shores, between Tybee and up to Hilton Head, so far. Grand Strand beaches COULD be next!
A story today at ABC 15/WPDE's website says SCNDR says POMWR's were washing up on Hilton Head Island beaches as recently as Tuesday, and they warn stings could be so severe as to require medical attention and in extreme cases, have resulted in death!
Learn more about how to handle a sting from ABC 15's story HERE>>