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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 August 2007, 13:42 GMT 14:42 UK
Jellyfish warning to beachgoers
The Portuguese Man-O'-War was found on Monday

Beachgoers in Cornwall are being urged to look out for potentially dangerous jellyfish-like creatures after a Portuguese Man-o'-War was washed up.

It was found by a volunteer with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust (CWT) on Monday at Porthmeor Beach in St Ives.

It is the sixth recording since 2003 of a Portuguese Man-o'-War in UK waters.

Experts from the Marine Conservation Society say it is possible that more of the creatures will be washed up. Their sting is potentially fatal.

A biologist from the University of Exeter's Cornwall Campus has collected the creature from Porthmeor and confirmed its identity.

"There is no need to panic about the arrival of this one animal," said Joana Doyle.

"But beach users, especially those with families, really should be aware that these animals can present a serious threat and should report any sightings of them to the CWT Marine Strandings Hotline."

CWT Marine Strandings Hotline
0845 201 2626

The CWT says the creature is not in fact a jellyfish, but a floating colony of closely related animals called hydrozoans.

The colony floats from the bottom of an air-filled, pink, blue or purple float, which somewhat resembles an inflated condom and has many long thin tentacles hanging below.

Human contact with the tentacles usually results in painful stings that leave lesions and ulcerations.

There are also recorded cases from different parts of the world where Portuguese Man-o'-War stings have resulted in fatalities as people who are stung can suffer fever and anaphylactic shock.

The Portuguese Man-o'-War is poisonous and can kill

Millions of sea creatures wash up
09 Dec 06 |  Cornwall
Jelly creatures go further north
28 Nov 06 |  North West Wales
Jelly creatures invade beaches
24 Sep 04 |  South East Wales
Expert disputes jellyfish claims
22 Jul 03 |  England

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