Creature found on Westward Ho! beach is identified as a ‘by the wind sailor’.

A colourful 'jellyfish' was spotted on Westward Ho! beach yesterday (Thursday) morning.

Deb Marks posted a photograph of the creature, taken by her friend Phil Rayment, on the Westward Ho! Community Group Facebook page.

Dr Peter Richardson of the Marine Conservation Society identified the creature as a velella velella and said there had been several sightings recently.

The velella velella, also known as a 'by the wind sailor', is a floating, solitary hydranth, similar to the infamous Portugese man-of-war.

The by the wind sailor floats on the surface of the water, with a small mass of tentacles on its underside, and is most commonly found in vast swarms.

Although they are carnivorous and use toxins to kill their prey, the by the wind sailor is not thought to have much of a sting for humans.

However, it is advised not to touch your face or hands after handling them.

In September 2012, the Gazette reported how Portuguese man of war had washed up on North Devon beaches.

And earlier this month, warmer water temperatures saw thousands of jellyfish stranded on beaches around the area.

Report your jellyfish sightings at www.mcsuk.org/sightings/jellyfish.php