BROWNSVILLE (February 17, 2013)--Portuguese men-of-war, the gas-filled, jellyfish-like marine creatures, are washing in with the tide at South Padre Island.
They look like harmless translucent pinkish or purplish balloons lying on the sand, but they drag with them venomous tentacles that can leave fiery welts on the skin of hapless bathers and beachcombers with whom they come in contact and in rare cases, allergic reactions can prove fatal.
Cameron County officials say the men-of-war have floated in with the tide onto the Boca Chica Beach and the beaches at Isla Blanca park, Andy Bowie Park and Beach Access Nos. 5 and 6 on South Padre Island.
Officials advise beach-goers to avoid contact with the men-of-war, even if they seem to be dead.