Giant jellyfish swarm off Cornish coast

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Swimmers and beach users in West Cornwall have been warned to be on the look out for giant jellyfish.

Several hundred of the huge creatures were spotted by divers searching for basking sharks near Land’s End and are thought to be Lion's mane jellyfish, (Cyanea capillata) which with a bell size of up to 2.3m and tentacles potentially 36m long are the largest species in the world.

They are capable of giving a nasty sting even when dead, so beach users have been advised to stay clear of any found washed ashore.

The jellyfish are thought to have been attracted to the area by the same rich plankton blooms which attract basking sharks.

It is rare to see these oceanic drifters in such a large swarms, especially this far south, but the cold winter has meant that sea temperatures in Cornwall are unusually low for the time of year.

The jellyfish themselves are preyed upon by another ocean giant the Leatherback turtle, (Dermochelys coriacea) which is also an occasional visitor to Cornish waters.