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