A jellyfish-like creature was spotted by a local kayaker off the coast of Devon this week.
The Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT) posted two impressive photos on Facebook of the Portuguese Man-O-War, taken by Wembury Marine Centre Volunteer, Samantha Barnes.
The Man-O-War looks like a big jellyfish but is in fact a species of siphonophore, meaning that it is made up of separate organisms joined together. Consequently, it appears to be a much larger, single creature.
Much like a beehive, or colony, each individual animal (called a zooid) has a specific function, for instance feeding, and one cannot survive without the others, the DWT said.
The creature is named after an old type of warship, as it uses part of its enlarged float that is filled with carbon monoxide as a sail to travel for thousands of miles on the surface, dragging behind a series of long tentacles that can deliver a deadly sting to fish.
There have also been more reports of other Man-O-Wars washing up on Wembury beach “over the past few days”, the Trust said, warning the public to admire from afar as they can give a nasty sting, even after the animal has died.
Sightings of the Portuguese Man-O-War along Devon’s coastline are not uncommon, although they are found mostly in tropical and subtropical waters.