November 19th, 2007
This month, there have been a number of jellyfish sightings including the String Jellyfish in Cornwall and the Mauve Stinger in the North Channel.
The String Jellyfish Apolemia uvaria, is not actually a jellyfish but belongs to a related group Siphonophora and is related to the Portuguese Man o’ War. They were reported in large numbers and have been spotted off Plymouth sound in the last 4-5 weeks. These unusual creatures have not been recorded in Plymouth or Cornwall before. They are usually found in oceanic waters and have a nasty sting.
Recently, there have been several sightings recorded in the North Channel, North West Ireland and Western Scotland of the jellyfish Pelagia noctiluca, more commonly known as the mauve stinger.
The mauve stinger can grow up to 10cm in diameter; its tentacles can extend up to 3m and are covered in nematocysts. Its colour varies from mauve-brown to purple and pale red and the exumbrella or the outer surface of the mushroom-shaped bell is covered in nematocyst-bearing warts, pink or mauve in colour. Nematocysts, also called stinging cells, contain small poisoned tubes that deliver its sting. Pelagia noctiluca usually feed on sea squirts and other small jellyfish.
These species also have a nasty sting so approach with care!
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Added by Rachelle Long