By Martha Brennan
WITH summer in full-swing, some unwanted visitors have again been spotted on West Cork’s beaches, with confirmed sightings of the dangerous Portuguese Man O’ War jellyfish reported.
According to the National Biodiversity Centre, there have been over 20 confirmed sightings of jellyfish reported in West Cork so far this year, with sightings of the deadly Man O’ War species in Kilbrittain and on Long Strand beach.
Man O’ Wars can be up to 30cm long and 10cm wide, and can inflict severely painful and sometimes deadly stings, which can cause symptoms such as muscle spasms, headaches, difficulty breathing and heart rhythm problems.
According to the Big Jellyfish Hunt Facebook page, the Man O’Wars haven’t peaked yet in West Cork. ‘They can be seen as late as October and are driven in by high winds,’ a spokesperson told The Southern Star.
Beachgoers are warned to stay vigilant, as the jellyfish can stay active for days after being washed up on shore.
There has also been a confirmed sighting of a Lion’s Mane jellyfish in Courtmacsherry. These jellyfish have stinging cells that are much sharper than common jellyfish and can pierce skin easily resulting in nausea, sweating, cramps, headaches and other symptoms.
Blue jellyfish, similar to Lion’s Manes, were also spotted in Courtmacsherry, as well as in Adrigole and Bantry. A sighting of a compass jellyfish, which has long tentacles that can cause a painful sting if brushed against, was also confirmed in Kinsale and Tragumna.
Common jellyfish, which cause mild stings, were confirmed in Crosshaven, Kinsale, Courtmacsherry, Rathbarry, Bantry and Dursey. Harmless Crystal jellyfish, which glow underwater, were spotted on Dunworley beach and in Croagh bay.
If stung by a jellyfish, the HSE recommends seeking advice from a lifeguard if on duty and to flush the area with sea water, not fresh water. Use hot water for Man O’ War stings and seek medical advice if symptoms are severe.
The public are asked to report sightings to the National Biodiversity Data Centre. Check out the jellyfish ID card on www.watersafety.ie