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Beachgoers in southern Thailand warned about stinging jellyfish

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Officials in the southern province of Songkhla have issued a warning about the presence of the stinging Portuguese man-of-war. The jellyfish-like creature has been spotted at Chala That Beach on several occasions, prompting the authorities to warn against swimming in the sea.

The Portuguese man-of-war is actually a siphonophore, with long and stinging tentacles. It’s readily identified by its balloon-like (usually) blue-coloured ‘float’, which can rise up to 15 centimetres above the surface of the water. It can be blue, violet or even pink in colour.

The sea creature has been spotted along the shoreline between the Songkhla districts of Singha Nakhon and Mueang. It is considered one of the most venomous marine creatures in the world. It’s understood several tourists have already reported being stung by the creature.

To be clear, Portuguese man-of-war don’t attack and sting anyone. People, and sea creatures, just randomly swim into their tentacles, or bit of left-over tentacles floating around the surface.

The mayor of Songkhla City has ordered lifeguards to warn tourists about the presence of the jellyfish and to advise them to stay out of the water. Wanchai Parinyasiri has also instructed lifeguards to have a first-aid kit ready to treat stings, but says victims should be taken to hospital immediately.

The stings can be mild to extremely painful, but rarely deadly to healthy humans.

The Portuguese man-of-war is expected to remain in the area until early April. The marine creature is commonly found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. During the monsoon season, it has been spotted in several southern Thai provinces, including Phuket, Krabi, Narathiwat, Songkhla and Pattani.

The authorities have warned people not to touch the creature should they see it.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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