Thursday, March 5, 2015

Portuguese-man-o-war on Island Hopping in Siargao

Portuguese-man-o-war on Dako Island, Siargao - Schadow1 Expeditions

It was a fine summer day. Clear skies, turquoise waters and moderate waves. Right in time for a perfect swim along the fine beaches of the smaller islets of Siargao. Three notable islands namely Naked Island (a sandbar), Dako, and Guyam Islands are near the shores of General Luna, Siargao. Amidst its beauty lies a bewitching organism called Portuguese-man-o-war.

It was like a blue bubble pop washed ashore of the fine white sands of the Dako and Naked Island of Siargao, although more dominant in numbers on the latter.

One must be aware that this small blue-bubble creature produces toxins that gives humans intense pain and may even affect the lymph nodes if attacked in numbers; causing paralysis due to intense pain and irritation.

A creature mostly seen floating around clean and warm sea waters with a bubble head as short as an inch and a half and whip-like blue flagellum as long as 15 inches is a actually the portuguese-man-o-war. Even those trapped on sand bars are as fierce as those floating in the waters.

Portuguese-man-o-war aka Blue-bottle "jellyfish", Commons

The portuguese-man-o-war (Physalia utriculus) is not a jellyfish, instead it is a multi-cellular organism living together symbiotically on its flagella-like tail and uses its bubble head composed primarily of carbon monoxide and  a dash of argon and nitrogen that deflates to go deep when under attack and inflates when it catches its prey.

When floating among the sea waters, it uses the waves for its mobility and immediately attaches it self to its victim to paralyze it for food.

As a first aid when stung, do not use your own fingers to dislodge it, instead look for a harder material such as a sharp stone or sea grass to swipe it off. Then flush the affected part with sea water as fresh water would spread the toxin further. Flushing warm salt water when available is advised. Pain can last for an hour and irritation to about three days.

Portuguese-man-o-war sting - Schadow1 Expeditions
My wife's skin irritation after 4 days from being stung by a portuguese-man-o-war
in Naked Island, Siargao

2015 East Philippine Seaboard Mapping Expedition Articles

1 comment:

  1. Iknow this post was about 4 years ago but I also wanna share my experience in which I got stung by one portuguese-man-o-war last January during an incoming storm and there was also amihan. My accident happen in shallow water in Siargao, it was at this "fish Sanctuary" (if they offer you to go there,dont) and whilst looking for a fish or something below I felt this thousand bites all over my body and then I quickly realize na it was a jellyfish, I thought I swam across a bloom of those. After getting off the water I realized na the tentacle was detached from the jellyfish but it still sting like sh*t cause I got it wrapped up around my legs, it hurts, badly and what made me more anxious was that si manong from the boat, panicked like saying na its okay lang daw kasi its harmless but his reaction says otherwise hahahha pero still thankful that they help me and my friends getting rid of the tentacles and even treated the affected part with vinegar to atleast help me get rid of the pain.

    Im pretty sure it was a Portuguese man-o-war cause we saw it afterward and I recognized it from the videos I saw online.

    When in beaches always bring medicine like antihestamine that willhelp you relieve itchiness from stings, tweezers if happens that you step on a sea urchin.