Beaches in Cape Cod town closed to swimming after Portuguese man o’ war sighting

YARMOUTH, Mass. — Some beaches in a popular Cape Cod town were closed to swimming on Monday after a Portuguese man o’ war was spotted in the area.

A man o’ war sighting was reported in Yarmouth, prompting the closure of all beaches on the south side of town, according to the Yarmouth Division of Natural Resources.

In a Facebook post, officials said, “All South Side (Nantucket Sound Side) Town Beaches are closed to swimming for the remainder of the day due to the presence of Man-of-war. Man-of-war stings are excruciatingly painful and can even occur if washed up on shore. We will keep the public updated as we continue to take reports and monitor their locations.”

RELATED: Sharks now have company in the water off Cape Cod. Portuguese men-of-war have arrived

Harding’s Beach in Chatham was closed to swimmers Saturday afternoon after a number of Portuguese man o’ wars washed ashore. Sightings also closed Horseneck Beach Station Reservation in Westport on Sunday.

The highly venomous ocean predator is sometimes mistaken for a species of jellyfish, but the man o’ war is actually a siphonophore that uses its feeding tentacles to sting and paralyze small fish, according to Oceana.

The man o’ war’s sting can be very painful to people, and officials say it is best to avoid swimming when there are large numbers in the area.

Though their sting is rarely deadly to people, it packs a painful punch and causes welts on exposed skin.

Attention 8/8/22 All South Side (Nantucket Sound Side) Town Beaches are closed to swimming for the remainder of the day...

Posted by Yarmouth Division of Natural Resources on Monday, August 8, 2022

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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