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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 July, 2003, 05:44 GMT 06:44 UK
Expert disputes jellyfish claims
By-the-Wind Sailors jellyfish. Picture: Naomi Rowe
The jellyfish arrived in early June
A marine biologist who has studied jellyfish for 40 years is disputing whether global warming was the reason large numbers of the creatures arrived in the South West last month.

Thousands of mussel-sized Velella Velella jellyfish, or "By-the-Wind Sailors", were washed up on beaches in Devon and Cornwall.

There had been suggestions that increased temperatures along the coast are encouraging the arrival of such exotic sea life, but Mr Peter Parks disagrees.

He says the creatures recently arrived on the coast because they floated up the Gulf Stream.

Found in Bermuda

Mr Parks is a marine biologist and photographer who has written an article which is being published in the BBC's Wildlife Magazine on Tuesday.

He admits it is unusual, though not completely unheard of, for them to end up on the South West coast.

They are normally found in Bermuda, where Mr Parks has studied them.

Many media reports last month also suggested that the creatures had arrived in British waters to breed.

But this is another claim Mr Parks disputes. He says they only do that in the tropical and sub-tropical open ocean.

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