Kevin and Amy Baldwin were doing some late-night fishing July 5 when they caught sight of something no one wants to see on Delaware’s beaches: a Portuguese man-of-war.
“As soon as I saw it, I thought, ‘This shouldn’t be,’” Kevin said.
The couple said the venomous man-of-war was about the size of a shoe with tentacles hanging from its body. Dozens of man-of-wars have been found along the New Jersey coast this summer, but Rich King of Delaware-surf-fishing.com said this was the first one he’s heard of in Delaware.
“I’ve been waiting for them to wash up on our shores, and one finally did,” King said.
Anyone stung by a man-of-war tentacle knows it has potent neurotoxins that result in a painful sting.
“The result is often a lash-like welt, swelling, and/or rash-like response in the immediate area of contact,” according to a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection fact sheet about the Portuguese man-of-war. “Pain is the most immediate result of contact with the man-of-war.”
Man-of-wars are normally found in tropical waters, but wind currents can sweep them north as far as Canada.