Thursday, September 27, 2012
Mass stranding of Portuguese Man of War is the fourth reported in ten years, says Marine Conservation Society.
A NUMBER of colourful jellyfish-like creatures have been spotted on the beaches of North Devon this week.
Last week, the Gazette reported how a group taking part in a beach clean on Westward Ho! discovered a Portuguese Man of War on the pebbles.
After reading our story, several readers have sent in pictures of the venomous creatures on local beaches.
The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) said it was the fourth mass stranding reported in ten years.
James Aitchison spotted one of the jellyfish-like animals on Putsborough breach on Monday, while Kate Pufahl found one on the same beach with her husband and son.
John Huxtable, from Woolacombe, also spotted a Portuguese Man of War on the tide line south of Mill Rock as he walked his dog along Woolacombe beach on Thursday.
Dr Peter Richardson, from the MCS, said: “Since the end of August we have had around 50 reports of 100 jellyfish sighted in the South West.
“It seems as sea surface temperatures rise, warmer waster pulses come up from the tropics and brings with it more tropical species.”
There has been several other sightings this week of the creatures in Instow and Combe Martin.
The creature is normally found in warmer waters, and delivers a nasty sting which can induce anaphylactic shock.
Dr Richardson added: “We urge people to ‘look but not touch’, as there have been a few stings reported and they sound very painful.”
The MCS is urging people who spot a Portuguese Man of War to report the sighting immediately, ideally with a picture, at www.mcsuk.org where a Jellyfish ID Guide including the Portuguese Man of War can also be downloaded.
To report a sighting or view a map of recent sightings in the North Devon area, click the links in the top right of the page.