Melbourne Beaches Invaded By Stinging Man-of-Wars

Portuguese man-of-war along beaches in Melbourne, Florida.
Portuguese man-of-war along beaches in Melbourne, Florida.

MELBOURNE, Florida – Last weekend, several people reported dozens of stinging sea creatures known as the Portuguese man-of-war along beaches in Melbourne and as far south as Sebastian River State Park.

Some people on Brevard County beaches have suffered stings from the animals. Officials say most of the stings occur when people pick the creatures up on the beach, rather than in the water.

On Saturday, man-of-war warnings were posted at some of the Brevard County beaches.

The man-of-war is known for their painful stings and venomous tentacles. Experts say they are not jellyfish but siphonophores, which are made up of several different organisms sharing a communal purpose.

Authorities say changes in current patterns can cause larger numbers of them to wash up on beaches.

As of Monday afternoon, most of the warning signs are still up at the beaches.

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Scott Lee travels between Brevard County and Indian River County and has been writing for various publications for approximately 30 years. Lee also writes for Sebastian Daily covering Vero Beach and Florida news. Currently, he covers Palm Bay, West Melbourne, and the Melbourne area.
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