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Hundreds of Man-o-wars washing up on area beaches

Posted at 6:10 PM, Apr 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-03 22:34:47-04

When going to the beach there's always things to look out for, like weather and rip currents. This spring, the weather doesn't only bring beach goers but also hundreds of Man-o-wars.

Man-o-wars are not jellyfish. They are siphonophores, a colony of animals living together to survive. Every spring these creatures wash up because of heavy winds in March and April that push them ashore.

The creatures look innocent, like tiny, blue, plastic bags, but they can be extremely dangerous.

"They have these stinging cells called nematocysts so if you touch them they pop a little arrow on you and pop some poison on you. These things can be six to seven inches long. Today the ones we're seeing are two to three inches in size," Reserve Director at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute Jace Tunnell said.

Tunnell told us their tentacles can stretch up to 100 feet. They are also easy to miss. Sea turtles feed on them but won't get hurt like humans would.

"Today you can go along the shoreline and there's a lot of little man-o-wars. If you had the urge, the stinging part is what hangs underneath it. Those are its tentacles and you do not want to touch those," Tunnell said.

Tunnell isn't the only one who noticed these jellylike looking creatures.

"I've seen a bunch of blue jellyfish. I'm being pretty good at avoiding them. One time I got stung three times in a row one day," Port Aransas visitor Jeremiah Guerra said.

Tunnell recommends that if someone gets stung to pour vinegar and hot water on the infected area and then wait 20 minutes. If the swelling continues, call an ambulance immediately.