Beware beached jellyfish
MILLIONS of people are settling down in front of the TV to watch Blue Planet.
David Attenborough fronts this astonishing show which is taking us to places where we have never been or seen before.
We appear to be looking at creatures from worlds created by science fiction film-makers.
It is difficult to believe that these are not alien life-forms.
In fact, the ‘Wizard of All Things Wildlife’ did make a point of saying that the fact that anything can exist in such hostile territory could raise our hopes about life on other planets, where great oceans exist.
While Blue Planet has a worldwide audience, there is always something special going on locally.
This week we have been hearing about strandings of Portuguese man-o-war on our beaches.
These beautiful jellyfish-like creatures have a fearsome reputation because of their long tentacles which can give you a nasty sting.
Our north west senior marine conservation officer Dr Emily Baxter said: “They have thousands of stinging cells – little capsules loaded with tiny barbed harpoons – that deliver venom to paralyse and kill their prey (small fish and crustaceans).
“Though it is rarely fatal for humans, their sting can pack a painful punch, so look but don’t touch.”
The jellyfish have a bright blue-purple float, shaped like a Cornish pasty, which floats on the sea surface and blue tentacles that hang below the surface, stretching more than 10 metres in length.
So, if you are heading over to Blackpool and Southport, Emily tells me: “As the number and distribution of sightings has increased since early September we could see more washing up in the north west, so keep an eye out next time you are out on the shore.
“Although they are beautiful and fascinating, it is important to ensure children and dogs are kept away from any stranded Portuguese man-o-war as they can still sting even when dead.”
To help us track where they are washing up, tweet us your pictures @ LivingSeasNW or report your sightings to www.mcsuk.org/sightings/
To become a member of the The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside go to the website at www. lancswt.org.uk or call 01772 324129. For more information about Cheshire Wildlife Trust call 01948 820728 or go to cheshirewildlifetrust.org. uk.