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Portuguese Man O War Alert

The Portuguese Institute of the Sea and the Atmosphere (IPMA) has issued a Portuguese Man O’ War alert after several jellyfish were spotted in the regions waters.  At the moment, large numbers are congregating in the sea surrounding the Azores (Faial, Terceira and São Miguel islands).

Portuguese Man O’ War are identifiable by their blue balloon-shaped bodies, which can also have lilac and pink tones. Its tentacles can reach up to 30 metres in length, and their sting is capable of causing severe burns.  Although smaller numbers have been recorded in Madeira, the IPMA has warned everyone to be careful as their migration, common as it is for this time of year, is greatly influenced by winds and surface currents.

Bathers are reminded not to touch them, even if they appear dead as they are still capable of delivering a painful sting. The GelAvista programme advises that in case of contact you must clean the affected area thoroughly with seawater and remove any pieces of tentacles stuck to the skin. You can also apply vinegar, hot compresses, but you must seek medical assistance.

Furthermore, for those interested, the GelAvista programme is excited to hear of any citings of jellyfish or any other species of gelatinous organisms.  Please provide site information such as date, location, number and photograph with an object used to show the relative size of the organism to the GelAvista application, which is available for iOS and Android systems, or email plancton@ipma.pt.

Samantha Gannon

info at madeira-weekly.com

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