Portuguese Manowar And Moon Jellyfish On Florida Beaches

COCOA BEACH, Florida - Recent east-southeasterly winds have been blowing blue Portuguese Man-of-War and translucent pink moon jellyfish onto the popular tourist beaches along Florida’s east coast in mid-February 2020.

The Manowar and moon jellyfish appear to be most heavily concentrated from Cocoa Beach, Florida south to West Palm Beach, Florida, according to social media reports and photos (technically, Portuguese Man-of-War aren’t blue jellyfish but are instead a colony of small organisms called Siphonophorae).

Often, the Portuguese Man-of-War become entangled in the seaweed which makes it harder for beachgoers to see the stinging marine life before it is too late.

Portuguese Manowar

The Portuguese Man-of-War, also known as Blue Bottles, can be identified from other jellyfish in Florida by its translucent blue and purple gas-filled air sac that helps them travel long distances across the ocean by acting as a wind-driven sail.

A stinging tentacle cluster mass under the body can have tentacles that may extend up to ten or fifteen feet which captures small prey such as fish.

Do Moon Jellyfish Sting?

Moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) are circular, translucent with a slight pink in the center. They range in size from 10 to 16 inches in diameter.

Moon jellyfish have a slight to unnoticeable sting. But any jellyfish venom can be potentially lethal if it triggers an allergic reaction in a human.

Jellyfish Sting Remedy

Rinse the area of the jellyfish sting with vinegar.

Do not rinse the area with fresh water because that will make the stingers fire more venom into the victim.

Sometimes, the tentacles will remain stuck to the skin and it will help to physically remove them as soon as possible from the victim with tweezers.

If tweezers are unavailable, use a gloved hand, towel, or dull edge of a plastic card.

Most jellyfish stings, although extremely intense, are relatively minor and will subside after a few minutes.

If you encounter a jellyfish sting that results in fainting, shortness of breath, chest pain, scratchy throat, or hives that occur on the skin in areas away from the site of the sting; these symptoms may be indicative of a more severe reaction. You should immediately call 911 and contact the nearest lifeguard if possible.