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Florida beaches beset by stinging man-of-war

Posted at 4:41 AM, Feb 12, 2018

MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP/WPTV) — Beachgoers on Florida's east coast are encountering dozens of stinging sea creatures known as the Portuguese man-of-war.

Florida Today reported Sunday that a number of people on Brevard County beaches have suffered stings from the animals. Officials say most of the stings occur when people pick the creatures up on the beach, rather than in the water.

Man-of-war warnings were posted at some of the northern county beaches Saturday. There were reports of stings as far south as the Sebastian River State Park. 

The Palm Beach County beach report says man-o-war are currently present on beaches all across the county.

The man-of-war, known for their intense, painful stings and venomous tentacles, are not jellyfish but siphonophores, which are made up of several different organisms sharing a communal purpose.

Authorities say changes in current patterns can cause larger numbers of them to wash up on beaches.