Update: 01/03 11:30 p.m.
Hualien County Bureau of Agriculture Director-General of the bureau Lo Wen-lung (羅文龍) said that upon inspection of the photos in this case, the specimens are likely the smaller, less venomous blue bottle or Indo-Pacific Portuguese Man o' War (physalia utriculus), as opposed to the larger, more lethal Portuguese Man o' War (Physalia physalis), reported China Times. Lo said the former is typically blue in color, while the latter is purple in color.
However, the East Coast National Scenic Area Headquarters was cited by CNA as saying that in recent days a large number of the more venomous Portuguese Man o' War (physalia physalis) have indeed been found by members of the public and confirmed in coastal areas of Taitung, on the northern coast of Green Island, Hualian's Qixingtan Beach, and the Hualian River Estuary, among other places. Experts believe the recent rough weather has churned up not only both varieties of Portuguese Man o' War, but other venomous species of jellyfish as well.
A member of the Hualien Marine Conservation Association was cited by CNA as saying that said that in recent years, sightings of Portuguese Man o' War as well as other jellyfish on the east coast of Taiwan have been on the rise. It is believed that in addition the influence of weather and climate change, the infiltration of nutrients used in agriculture has also resulted in coastal eutrophication and algae proliferation, which increases the food supply for the creatures, plankton.
Portuguese Man o' War washed up on Taitung beach on Dec. 27. (Taitung Hospital image)
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Portuguese Man o' War, the third most dangerous "jellyfish" in the world, were spotted on a beach in eastern Taiwan's Hualien County on Wednesday (Jan. 2).
On Wednesday morning, a member of the Facebook group "Hualien Person" (花蓮人), posted two photos showing Portuguese Man o' War (僧帽水母, Monk's Hat Jellyfish) washed up on the rocky Qixingtan Beach in Hualien County. In the post, the netizen wrote:
"Portuguese Man o’ War jellyfish appeared on Qixingtan Beach.
To ensure your own safety, please everyone don't touch it."
The Portuguese Man o' War is ranked by planetdeadly.com as the third most dangerous "jellyfish" in the world because of the "systemic effects of the venom," including "fever, shock and impaired heart and lung function leading to possible death." Though it appears to be a jellyfish, it is actually a colony of many tiny organisms and gets its name from the man-of-war armed sailing ships employed by the Portuguese in the 18th century.
Two Portuguese Man o' War. (Photo from Facebook group 花蓮人)
Taiwanese netizens were perplexed and frightened by the strange sea creatures:
"I thought it was a balloon."
"I thought it was a plastic bag."
"Gosh, children could go out there and play with the rocks, thank you for the warning."
"Gosh, they've appeared in Taiwan too now."
"Isn't this really venomous?"
"The toxicity is deadly dangerous, do not touch them."
"Super poisonous jellyfish."
"Good thing someone spotted them."
Closeup of Portuguese Man o' War. (Photo from Facebook group 花蓮人)