Updated: August 3, 2021 12:53:47 pm
The venomous but deceptively beautiful blue bottle jellyfish, also known as the Portuguese man-of-war, have been sighted over the past three days at Mumbai’s Juhu beach.
Every year, the brightly coloured marine hydrozoans get washed onto the shores as a result of the monsoon winds. Once ashore, they get stuck in the sand and eventually some return with the tide, but most end up dying on the beach.
In a bid to spread awareness on avoiding contact with this marine species as well as measures to be taken in the event of a sting, which can be agonisingly painful, the Mangrove Cell has been putting up several sign-boards along the beach in association with the Marine Life of Mumbai (MLOM), a group of marine enthusiasts.
While many people get stung after stepping on these creatures or while picking them up, experts suggest that it is more dangerous when the person is in the water.
The sting causes a burning sensation and swelling with red rashes. Experts suggest that the best way to deal with it is to pour seawater on the stung area, avoid rubbing it or even washing the wound with warm water. The victims are then advised to visit a hospital.
Director of the Coastal Conservation Foundation Shaunak Modi, who documented the species on Juhu beach last week, tweeted, “Last few days of strong onshore winds have brought our yearly monsoon visitors back to our shores. Thousands of Portuguese man o’ war have been stranded at Juhu beach today.”
Some experts believe it is the rising temperature of the seawater that causes them to come to the shore. Besides their tentacles, the deep-sea creatures have a transparent, gas-filled bladder that keeps them afloat.
In 2018, a huge number of blue bottle jellyfish got washed ashore on several Mumbai beaches and over 150 people, including children, were stung at popular beaches like Girgaum Chowpatty, Juhu and Aksa.
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