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The Portuguese man of war arrives in Mallorca

27-05-2018 | Excursions

A day at the beach aren’t always fun in the sun. Most rescues and incidents are related with cuts, sunburn and not being aware of the danger of currents and waves. Some sea creatures also visit our beaches.

The Portuguese man of war (Physalia  physalis) is a colonial organism (Siphonophora) of zooids. Each zoid is a different animal that is specialised in a function: flotation, digestion, capture of prey and reproduction. True jellyfish are multicellular organisms with different organs, just like humans.

Siphonophora include several species, mostly deep sea marine creatures. The man of war lives in tropical and subtropical oceans, but its rare in the Mediterranean. They are occasionally seen along our coasts in May and June. They live on the surface, drifting by currents and the wind. They use the long tentacle to capture small animals. The tentacles bear a special structure called a nematocyst that inoculates a venom that paralyses the prey. This venom causes the nasty and dangerous stings of the man of war.

What to do if you get stung by a man of war? Always seek medical advice.

Dr. Rosa  Taberner indicates that we should not rub the area. The first action is to remove any tentacles and clean the skin with sea water. Fresh water increases the discharge of venom. Cold can be applied to reduce inflammation and seek urgent medical attention.

More information of what to do can be found in the blog Dermapixel.

Always stay safe when you visit the sea. It’s important to pay attention to the recommendations of lifeguards or the crew of our boat. We have to share the oceans with other creatures.