The sunshine has brought all sorts of people flocking to Britain’s beaches – and some unusual visitors to our seas, too. Jellyfish, generally a rare sight in the UK, have been spotted all around the coastline, drawn to the warmer waters.

Dr Peter Richardson, the Marine Conservation Society‘s biodiversity programme manager, is fascinated by recent developments, and believes that jellyfish numbers are ‘important indicators of the state of our seas’. ‘The scarcity of jellyfish reports before June was unusual, and could well be linked to the exceptionally cold spring,’ he explains.

 Moon Jellyfish are becoming more common in British waters

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‘However, as our waters warmed, sightings of jellyfish increased, with moon jellyfish reported in large numbers around the UK, reports of compass and blue jellyfish in the South-West, and blooms of lion’s mane jellies around North Wales and North-West England.’ The Irish Sea has been described as a veritable ‘jellyfish soup’, with several species present in large numbers.

Dr Richardson urges people to report any sightings in the sea or on the beach to the Marine Conservation Society by visiting www.mcsuk.org. However, he stresses the importance of keeping your distance from jellyfish – some species, such as the lion’s mane jellyfish, have a serious sting.

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Image: www.jellyfishfacts.net