Portuguese Man O’War reach UK beaches

Deadly creatures drift up Irish Sea

Thanks to Jaime for a story that the Winter weather has driven ‘Floating Terror’, the Portuguese Man O’War, to the beaches of the North West and experts have warned beach-goers to stay away from the deadly creatures that have begun to wash up along the coastline as warm southerly winds blow up from Madeira tp Morecambe Bay!

Cheshire Wildlife Trust have urged people to keep their eyes peeled when visiting the Wirral coastline and beyond as five of the creatures have washed up as far north as Walney Island in Cumbria.

That means the Portuguese Man O’War, which were first spotted in Cornwall after the recent spell of stormy weather, have passed Wirral, Crosby and Formby beaches as they slowly drift up the Irish Sea.

Senior Marine Conservation Officer for North West Living Seas, Dr Emily Baxter said: “If they have washed up in Cumbria it is highly likely that they will also appear on other beaches across the North West.”

Man O’War warning

‘Another Place’ on Crosby Beach. Photo: Alex Cousins SWNS

“As the number and distribution of sightings has increased since early September we could see more washing up in the North West, so keep an eye out next time you are out on the shore,” Baxter told Cheshire Wildlife Trust, “Although they are beautiful and fascinating, it is important to ensure children and dogs are kept away from any stranded Portuguese Man O’War as they can still sting even when dead.”

‘Another Place’ on Crosby Beach. Photo: Alex Cousins SWNS

About Portuguese Man O’War

A Merseyside newspaper reports that the creatures live on the surface of the ocean and are found mainly in tropical and subtropical waters.

The beautiful stinging creatures can’t swim and are at the mercy of the winds, which is why they often end up washed ashore after big storms.

While they look pretty, and are usually around 30 ft long, the Portuguese man o’war tentacles can sometimes grow up to 160ft!  Their long tentacles help them take down their prey which is usually bigger than them.

In some cases, sightings of this jellyfish can cause beaches to close to avoid any incidents caused by these fearsome creatures.

They mainly survive on crustaceans and small fish which might suggest they are harmless. However, if stung by one a human can experience severe pain and sometimes, in rare cases, end in fatality. 

This Jellyfish’s venom can strike lymph nodes causing shock, fevers and can hinder a person’s breathing.

Jellyfish that wash up on beaches are usually dead, however, caution is still seriously advised as their tentacles still have the ability to sting.

COVID-19 in Madeira: daily updates can be found in an earlier post

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4 thoughts on “Portuguese Man O’War reach UK beaches”

  1. From WikiPedia:–

    Although it superficially resembles a jellyfish, the Portuguese man o’ war is in fact a siphonophore. Like all siphonophores, it is a colonial organism, made up of many smaller units called zooids.[9] All zooids in a colony are genetically identical, but fulfill specialized functions such as feeding and reproduction, and together allow the colony to operate as a single individual.

    Full article here:–

    Most unusual to see them as far north as the Irish sea. I imagine they will die out in the colder waters.


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