Chatham Beach Closed After Dangerous Portuguese Man O' War Spotted

CHATHAM, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Harding's Beach in Chatham was temporarily closed Saturday after multiple dangerous Portuguese Man O' War came ashore, according to town officials.

The beach was closed until 4 p.m. Officials have not mentioned if it will reopen tomorrow at this time.

While the sea creature's sting is rarely deadly for humans, it can cause painful welts on exposed skin, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration U.S. Department of Commerce.

Portuguese Man O' War, scientifically known as Physalia physalis, are widely thought to be jellyfish based on their jelly-like appearance, but they are actually part of the siphonophore species.

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Man O' War's are known for their balloon-like appearance on the surface, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Under the water, they have long strands of tentacles that grow to about thirty feet and can extend up to a hundred feet, according to NOAA.

Photo: Getty Images

These dangerous brightly-colored sea balloons are named after an 18th century Portuguese warship. When the Man O' War is on the surface, the gas-filled float is said to resemble the ship under full sail, officials say.

If stung, officials recommend victims seek medical attention and not to touch any tentacles that may still be in contact.

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