Portuguese Man O' War found on Curracloe beach
A Curracloe couple have reported a rare sighting of a Portuguese Man O' War on the beach between Culleton's Gap and White Gap.
'We came across it at low tide on the shoreline. they're not usually found in Irish waters', said retired Coastguard Officer in Charge Frank Murphy who made the discovery last week while walking on Curracloe beach with his wife Margaret.
'But sometimes you hear public warnings issued about their appearance in areas along the coastline due to the fact that the sting from their tentacles can be very painful', he said. 'I've been living in Curracloe all my life and it's the first time I've ever seen one. They're mostly found in southern climates', said Frank who retired from Curracloe Coastguard last year after 41 years service and was honoured with a marine long service medal by the Irish Coastguard in 2016.
The marine creature is not actually a jellyfish but a 'siphonophore', a bizarre group of animals that consist of dozens, hundreds or even thousands of genetically-identical indivdiual organisms called zooids that must co-operate as one in order to travel and catch food. Usually found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans, it gets its name from the uppermost polyp, which sits above the water and resembles an old warship.
Man O'War tentacles can be up to 165 feet long and their toxic stings release a venom which is powerful enough to paralyse and kill fish but is rarely fatal to humans although they can be very painful and cause red welts on the skin, cramps and symptoms of shock.