The dangerous Portuguese Man O' War is back, warns Universiti Malaysia Terengganu

KUALA LUMPUR: The Portuguese Man O' War, a highly venomous jellyfish, has reappeared in Terengganu waters.

The marine creature was first spotted along the beach near Universiti Malaysia Terengganu several days ago, announced the South China Sea Repository and Reference Centre attached to the university's Oceanography and Environment Institute.

"Our volunteers discovered a few of these blue jellyfish, along with the Blue Button Jellyfish, two days ago," it said in a Facebook post on Friday (Dec 29).

"More shockingly, Dr CS Thirukanthan, a staff member of the university's Climate Adaptation and Marine Biotechnology Institute, found 50 of them at Pantai Teluk Ketapang around 10.30am the same day.

"The senior science officer contacted us, along with plankton expert Dr Roswati Mat Amin, who has been collecting information and studying these jellyfish over the past few years.

"They collected the samples for further studies," the post read.

ALSO READ: Warning issued after jellyfish found at Kuantan beach

Based on their records, the Repository and Reference Centre said the Portuguese Man O' War has appeared in large numbers in the past five years, in early January and February.

"It is surprising that these jellyfish are found stranded at the end of December, and in large numbers," it added.

The public is warned to be extra careful when visiting the beaches in Terengganu.

"These beautiful blue-coloured jellyfish are poisonous and dangerous.

"If you encounter these jellyfish, report it to the local authorities, including the State Fisheries Department or related departments.

"Seek immediate treatment if there are signs of stinging and symptoms of numbness," the post said.

ALSO READ: Terengganu beachgoers advised to be on alert for poisonous jellyfish

With its long tentacles, the Portuguese Man O' War can deliver an excruciatingly painful sting that is sometimes powerful enough to kill a human.

It is actually not a jellyfish but a colony of marine organisms known as siphonophores.

The species is usually found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans but has also been reported in Melaka, Penang, and Singapore.

It can be identified by its translucent bluish-purple or pink tinge. The ones found in Malaysia have tentacles as long as 3m.

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