Biologist advises residents: Avoid contact with man o’ war

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Guam – Reports of man o’ war sightings on Guam’s eastern shores are nothing to be worried about, but a local biologist advised residents to avoid contact with the marine hydrozoan. 

The man o’ war is powerful enough to kill a fish. While contact with this specie may not be fatal to humans, it can leave a person with an intense stinging reaction.

In an interview with Phil Leon Guerrero on K57, Brent Tibbats, a biologist at the Department of Agriculture Fisheries, said there have been reports of the man o’ war’s presence on eastern shores.

“We are getting some up on the east side,” Tibbats said. “The reports that I got from this past week Thursday, Saturday and Sunday were much smaller numbers than we have been seeing the other month ago or so. Probably not more than 10, 15, 20 in a location.”

Tibbats said the Department of Agriculture has received reports of man o’ war sightings in a narrow area from Tagachang Beach to Talofofo at Jeff’s Pirates Cove, where about 10 man o’ war were found.

“We haven’t had any reports up north for a while now in Ritidian,” Tibbats said. “It seems like they are more settling on the east side and the numbers are much smaller than we were seeing a while ago.”

If you do see a man o’ war in the water or washed ashore, Tibbats advises, get out of the water. Even a dead man o’ war has the ability to sting a person, he said.

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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.