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Last Updated: Monday, 12 November 2007, 13:53 GMT
Rare jellyfish spotted off coast
Apolemia uvaria, "pearl string" : pic courtesy of Neil Hope
Pearl string jellyfish: picture courtesy of Neil Hope
A rare type of jellyfish has been photographed for the first time off the South West coast.

The orange-pink creatures, called apolemia uvaria but also known as "pearl strings", have been seen off Plymouth and the Cornish coast.

But people have been warned not to touch them as they have a nasty sting.

Rory Goodall, a wildlife trip operator in Penzance said: "I have seen thousands of them attracted to our waters because of plankton."

Kill fish

Mr Goodall, who runs Elemental Tours and Atlantic Adventure, said he spotted the creatures while at sea off west Cornwall in his rigid inflatable.

With the help of wildlife experts in California, where they have also been reported, Mr Goodall identified the species of jellyfish as apolemia uvaria.

The jellyfish can be seen in colonies of tiny hydroids which can form strings up to 100ft (30.48m) long.

The creatures' sting, although not life-threatening to humans, is enough to kill a large fish.

Mr Goodall believes the creatures, normally found in deeper water off Norway and Ireland, were attracted by a plankton bloom off the Plymouth coast.

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