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These ‘jellyfish on steroids’ are pretty but dangerous. Can they show up on the Coast?

It looks like a jellyfish. It’s as colorful as a jellyfish. It even appears to float like a jellyfish. But these large, colorful creatures that popped up in Orange Beach, Alabama, this week are no jellyfish.

Orange Beach Surf Rescue removed about 25 blue Portuguese man-of-wars from the water on Thursday, according to Fox 10.

The creatures, made up of a group of organisms, are venomous, said Joe Jewell, director of marine fisheries for the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. An official with Orange Beach Surf Rescue described them to Fox 10 as “jellyfish on steroids.”

“They’re very pretty and colorful, so you’re just naturally attracted to them, but they can have significant sting,” Jewell said.

The stings are painful and can leave lasting welts on the skin, Fox 10 reported. Jewell said the creature’s stinger can also still sting when it’s broken off the man-of-war’s body.

“The public needs to be cautious around them,” Jewell said. “If you have underlying medical conditions, they can be very harmful to you.”

Nobody was stung in Orange Beach on Thursday.

Jewell said the creatures are not common in Mississippi but they can occur in Coast waters.

He said DMR crews were out today and will notify him if a Portuguese man-of-war, also known as a men o’ war, is spotted.

“We always have concerns about any adverse interactions with the public, but we don’t have any knowledge of them in our waters right now,” he said.”

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