Portuguese Man of War Found in Cornwall

A handful of stinging Portuguese Man of War have been spotted along the Cornish coastline and beach goers are being warned not to go near them

They resemble a jellyfish and have long tenticles - that if touched - can give you an allergic reaction which in some cases leads to a fever and even shock. 

Now a marine charity warns beach visitors not to touch the bizarre creature that's not a single animal but a floating colony 

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and Cornwall Council say they have received reports of several Portuguese Man Of War washing up on beaches in Cornwall just days after authorities in Ireland warned local beach goers about a spate of recent strandings of this potentially dangerous floating sea creature. 

Last weekend a member of the public contacted Cornwall Council about a small number of what MCS identified as Portuguese Man of War washed up at Portheras Cove. They then had reports of similar sightings at Summerleaze and Widemouth beaches with their most recent reports again from Portheras near Penzance on Thursday morning (6th September).

MCS says the Portuguese Man of War (Physalia physalis) are only occasionally reported in UK waters. The last significant number of strandings occurred in 2009, although a few were reported on beaches in south west Cornwall late last year. 

The Portuguese Man of War isn't a jellyfish but is closely related, and consists of a floating colony of hydrozoans - many really tiny marine organisms living together and behaving collectively as one animal.

The Cornish Pasty-shaped, transparent purple float has tentacle's that can be tens of meters in length.

MCS is urging people who spot a Portuguese Man of War to report the sighting immediately, ideally with a picture, at www.mcsuk.org