HARVEY CEDARS, N.J. (CBS)– A tropical visitor with a nasty greeting has arrived at the Jersey Shore.
A member of the Harvey Cedars Beach Patrol found a Portuguese Man O’ War washed up last Friday morning.
Man O’ War are like jellyfish but are actually made of several inter-working organisms.
They have a purple or pink balloon-like bladder that acts like a sail floating them up the Gulf Stream. Their poisonous tentacles can be several feet long.
“It will be a burning tingling sensation, it can radiate throughout the limb and other parts of the body. It’s much more extreme than a regular jellyfish sting,” says Captain Randy Townsend of the HCBP.
In rare cases the stings can be fatal and people allergic to bee stings can have a similar reaction.
Several Man O’ War were reported along the Jersey Shore in 2016 and hundreds in 2015 according to Montclair State University marine biologist Dr. Paul Bologna.
He says it’s impossible to know how many Man O’ War will turn up in New Jersey this summer, but he expects to hear more reports of sightings in the days and weeks to come.
If you are not allergic stinging insects and get stung experts say the best thing to do is thoroughly wash the sting area with fresh water and pat it dry.
Capt. Townsend says there should be no reason why people avoid the beach but it is good to keep an eye out for Man O’ War.