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Thousands of jellyfish washed up on North Devon beaches

PUBLISHED: 08:57 01 July 2015 | UPDATED: 08:57 01 July 2015

Jellyfish on Putsborough. Pic by @redwoodsurfshop

Jellyfish on Putsborough. Pic by @redwoodsurfshop

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‘Invasion’ on North Devon shores as moon jellyfish and barrel jellyfish bloom. We asked the Marine Conservation Scoiety why...

This jellyfish was spotted by Sharon Thompson. This jellyfish was spotted by Sharon Thompson.

There was an ‘alien’ invasion on North Devon beaches as thousands of jellyfish washed ashore.

Beach users on Saunton, Putsborough, Instow and Westward Ho! all reported seeing the sand littered with the stranded creatures last week.

And according to Dr Peter Richardson, biodiversity programme manager for the Marine Conservation Society, it’s been a ‘bumper year’ for the them.

He said: “Last year was a record year – we had around 1,400 jellyfish sightings and 40 per cent of these were large, barrel jellyfish.

Jellyfish on Westward Ho! taken by Jon Webb. Jellyfish on Westward Ho! taken by Jon Webb.

“This year we have had around 600 reports so far and we don’t really know why this is.

“The last time we had anything like this was back in 2002.”

Dr Richardson said moon jellyfish were a common sighting as they ‘bloom’ at this time of year.

“As for the barrel jellyfish, we think in the winter they might be sinking to the sea bed,” he said.

“They are surviving the mild winter and then coming back when the water warms up.”

Dr Richardson added the two breeds had a ‘very mild’ sting which is hardly felt.

The MSC is asking beach users to report jellyfish sightings at www.mcsuk.org/sightings/jellyfish.php

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