Man-of-war

Po­ten­tially lethal, jel­ly­fish-like sea crea­ture show­ing up far from home in At­lantic wa­ters

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ATLANTIC -

Un­wanted vis­i­tors of the gelati­nous kind are be­ing spot­ted in Nova Sco­tia wa­ters, spook­ing some swim­mers who have come across the po­ten­tially lethal species.

A Hal­i­fax re­searcher says she has five con­firmed sight­ings of Por­tuguese man-of-war so far this sum­mer, rais­ing ques­tions about their un­usual pres­ence in north­ern wa­ters.

Bethany Nord­strom, a bi­ol­ogy stu­dent at Dal­housie Univer­sity who is re­search­ing jel­ly­fish, says they have had man-of-war in the re­gion be­fore even though the jel­ly­fish­like crea­tures pre­fer warmer, trop­i­cal and sub­trop­i­cal lo­cales.

She says strong winds and cur­rents likely pushed the colour­ful species into ar­eas around Crys­tal Cres­cent beach out­side Hal­i­fax, since they do not move on their own and just float to wher­ever the cur­rents take them.

But she says she’s try­ing to de­ter­mine if changes in wa­ter tem­per­a­tures are af­fect­ing the pres­ence of jel­ly­fish and other crea­tures like the Por­tuguese man-of-war, which is a siphonophore.

The painful sting from the venom emit­ted by lit­tle har­poons on man-of-war ten­ta­cles, which can reach nine me­tres long, can be deadly for peo­ple who are al­ler­gic to it.

CP PHOTO/DEB BRUNT

A Por­tuguese man-of-war is shown in this hand­out im­age at Cres­cent Beach, Nova Sco­tia on July 4. Un­wanted vis­i­tors of the gelati­nous kind are be­ing spot­ted in Nova Sco­tia wa­ters, spook­ing some swim­mers who have come across the po­ten­tially lethal species.

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