A huge swarm of jellyfish, nicknamed “dustbin lids” because of their enormous size, are washing up on Britain’s west coast. So far the enormous barrel jellies have been spotted in south Devon, with some infiltrating Torquay harbour, Sheldon and even along the Cornwall coast. Locals were mesmerised by the alien looking creatures which put on a spectacular display on Sunday.
Many of the jellyfish that have been washed up on the shore have been enormous, reaching up to three feet in length.
Those found in Cornwall have been the size of dustbin lids, giving them their nickname Dustbin-lid jellyfish.
They have eight arms, each frilly in appearance.
It is the frills that actually contain their stinging tentacles, which surround hundreds of little mouths.
But their sting is harmless to humans.
Paula Williamson, 45, saw dozens as they gently undulated in Torquay harbour.
She said: “They were everywhere. There were lots and lots in the harbour.
“But they weren’t just in the harbour they were swarming everywhere outside it too.
“In the sea outside the harbour wall and along by the pier too.
“There must have been thousands. I’ve never seen so many in my life.”
The swarm stretched along the coast to nearby Shaldon where dozens washed up on the beach.
The Devon Wildlife Trust told Express.co.uk that the barrel jellyfish “are not dangerous” and explained that it wasn’t unusual for so many to be washed onto the shore.
Steve Hussey, from Devon Wildlife Trust, said: “There was another swarm in south Devon about a month ago.
“It happens most summers and it may be linked to food availability due to warming sea temperatures.”
When asked what beachgoers should do if they come across one, Mr Hussey advised they “should be admired, but left alone”.
He said that while barrels jellyfish are harmless to humans, some species can give a nasty sting.
He added: “When jellyfish are washed up it can be hard to tell what specie they actually are, so it is best to leave them alone to avoid getting a nasty sting.”