Cape Cod beach closes after Portuguese man o’ war sightings

CHATHAM, Mass. — A Cape Cod beach closed Saturday afternoon after a “number” of Portuguese man o’ wars washed ashore, officials say.

The sightings happened at Harding’s Beach in Chatham, according to a tweet from the town. The beach was closed to swimming until 4 p.m.

The highly venemous ocean predator is sometimes mistaken for a species of jellyfish; however, the man o’ war is a siphonophore. The species 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.

Beachgoers should also use caution, as the species has the ability to sting weeks after washing ashore. Though their sting is rarely deadly to people, it packs a painful punch and causes welts on exposed skin.

Last month, the DCR closed a beach in Westport due to a man o’ war sighting and dangerous rip currents.

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