BEACHGOERS are being urged to be cautious after a Portuguese man o’ war washed up off Portland.

Dorset Wildlife Trust says there have been multiple reports of the marine creatures washing up on beaches along the Dorset coast recently.

A social media post from the wildlife charity said: "Look but do not touch. They have an extremely nasty and painful sting, even once they have died."

This Portuguese man o’ war was spotted at Chesil Cove and is believed to have been washed up after recent storm weather.

Wyke Regis resident Amy Dawes was walking along the beach near the Cove House Inn when she noticed the creature on the stones.

She said: “I just didn’t know what it could be, I suspected some sort of sea creature, but it looked almost too man made for that.

“There was another guy there asking what we thought it was, and if we had found anything else interesting as there were quite a few people beachcombing as it was the Sunday after the storm - so much calmer.”

In the end, Amy decided to take a photo and reverse image search it to find out what it was, she also added the photo to a Facebook group called Pictures of Portland where she was met with plenty of replies confirming it was indeed a Portuguese man o’ war.

She added: “I was just curious as to what it was, and quite surprised once I found out as I didn’t think we ever had those in the UK – It’s quite beautiful.”

Dorset Echo: A Portuguese man o’ war spotted on Chesil BeachA Portuguese man o’ war spotted on Chesil Beach (Image: Amy Dawes)

The Dorset Wildlife Trust has confirmed that the creature was a Portuguese man o’ war.

Their tentacles deliver a nasty and extremely painful sting so people should stay alert and keep their distance if they happen to spot them in the water.

Care should also be taken if they are found washed up on the beach as they still have the capacity to sting, even when dead, so people are advised to look but not touch.

Sarah Hodgson, Marine Awareness Officer at Dorset Wildlife Trust said: “Although normally found out in the open ocean, it's not unusual to see Portuguese man o’ war pushed closer to our shores following stormy weather.

“Portuguese man o’ war might look like jellyfish; however, they are actually a siphonophore which is a colony of tiny animals, called zooids, all working together as if one creature.

“The zooids have different functions, some are responsible for catching prey and make up the tentacles; some are for locomotion and make up their balloon-like sail; there are some for feeding and others for breeding.

“Portuguese man o’ war live on the surface of the water drifting where the wind and currents take them. Beneath the surface of the water, their long tentacles trail underneath to capture and ensnare their prey.”

People can send man o’ war sightings via email to: