Portuguese man-of-war, also known as blue bottle or floating terror is an aquatic creature found predominantly in the Indian, Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans that is capable of quite a sting.
Beaches of Phuket had an unexpected visitor from the oceans this week. The aquatic creature, originally a siphonophore, has a big gas bladder called pneumatophore which reminds it of old Portuguese war ships, earning it the name. However don’t be fooled by the disguise, the beautifully looking creatures can cause quite a harm to unwary visitors on the beach. According to Kittiphat Tharapiban, head of the Sirinath National Park in Phuket, the authorities have banned swimming at the beaches of Naiyang, Naithon and Layan on Friday as a measure of precaution. He also noted that these organisms are considered to be one of the most venomous species in the world.
The creatures can deliver quite a sting according to him. Just like jellyfish, whose sting features quite high on the Schmidt pain index, the pain could present severe pain to the victim, which in some cases had resulted in heart attacks, said Tharapiban. The national park chief said the creatures poses potential threat to the visitors and the beaches were vacated as a safety measure. All kinds of water activities and swimming stands suspended at the aforementioned beaches. Experts at the National Geographic are of the opinion that, even though the sting left by the creatures can be quite agonizing, it cannot be termed deadly. However; seeing that even a man-of-war washed upon the shore is quite capable of leaving a sting, the authorities are not taking any chances.