British jellyfish and Sherlock Holmes

This video is called Big Lion’s Mane jellyfish.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

There’s a sting in Frosty’s tale

Thursday 29 August 2013

Our recent mini heat-wave has seen thousands of holidaymakers heading for Britain’s seaside.

But if you’re planning a trip in the last weeks of the holidays be warned – humans are not the only visitors being attracted to our beaches.

The recent spell of warm weather has also seen a rapid increase in jellyfish blooms around our coast. A number of colourful and spectacular species including the giant lion’s mane have been turning up on beaches in growing numbers.

The lion’s mane, our biggest jellyfish, can have a body well over six feet in diameter and has long powerful stinging tentacles.

These can be up to 100 feet, longer than a blue whale.

These huge jellyfish are mostly found around north Wales and north-west England. They feed on smaller species such as the moon jellyfish.

Big blooms of moons attract lion’s manes and these in turn attract leatherback turtles. They are the main diet of these gigantic turtles, which can grow to the size of a Volkswagen beetle.

Lion’s manes were made famous in a Sherlock Holmes short story.

Holmes discovers that the true killer of a school professor who died shortly after going swimming was actually this giant jellyfish.

Despite the story, actual deaths from British jellyfish stings are rare.

Healthy adults usually survive even serious stings.

A particularly warm summer has led to jellyfish sightings on all parts of our coast.

Holidaymakers have been frightened out of the water by huge blooms of stingers.

As well as the spectacular lion’s mane we have also seen large numbers of the giant blue and compass jellyfish too.

These beautiful and graceful swimming creatures have been very common in Devon and Cornwall this year.

The compass jelly gets its name from an elegant set of markings that resemble an ornate compass rose.

The moon jellyfish is also a pretty species – spherical, white and almost luminous.

It has been found all around our coast, sometimes in very large numbers.

One further species, the barrel jellyfish, is normally found in the Irish sea but come further south in warm summers like this year’s.

Try to keep clear of any jellyfish.

Never touch them either in the water or when they have been washed up on the beach.

Alive or dead they can really sting and some exotic species are very dangerous.

So why are jellyfish blooms increasing?

Some scientists say that pollution is driving up the number of algal blooms and depriving the seas of oxygen.

That’s bad for shellfish and other fish species but jellyfish do well in these conditions.

Others believe it is a side effect of commercial overfishing.

Still others say that it is just a natural cycle and nothing to worry about.

Weather and warm summers remain a key factor in the number of jellyfish that invade our summer beaches.

Will Jellyfish Rule the Ocean? – In 2000, a bloom of sea tomato jellyfish in Australia was so enormous: here.

8 Ways Jellyfish Are Awesome And Terrifying: here.

11 thoughts on “British jellyfish and Sherlock Holmes

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