Venomous man-of-wars make rare appearance on NC beaches

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A Portuguese man-of-war (Wikipedia)

Several venomous Portuguese man-of-wars have recently been showing up on Outer Banks beaches, according to the

Between 20 and 30 of the Gulf Stream dwellers have washed up in Corolla, and several have been spotted on beaches south into Nags Head.

Officials said the rare presence of the man-of-wars may be due to strong easterly winds blowing onshore for more than a week.

It is rare for these animals to blow this far north, but not unheard of, according to authorities.

“Anytime we have a wind onshore for many days, we may see these come up,” said David Elder of Kill Devil Hill Ocean Rescue. “They are very Gulf Stream specific. We may see them every year. It isn’t an acute problem, nor is it chronic.”

The Portuguese man o’ war  is a marine cnidarian of the family Physaliidae. It has venomous tentacles that deliver a painful sting.

It is not a common jellyfish but a siphonophore, which is not actually a single multicellular organism, but a colony of specialized minute individuals called zooids.

The zooids are attached to one another and physiologically integrated to the extent that they are incapable of independent survival.

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