Monday, May 11, 2009

The giant jellyfish it so big will make you go wobbly

With its silvery sheen and trailing tentacles, this gelatinous mass looks like a sci-fi creature that has crash-landed to earth from outer space.

But the translucent form, that washed up on a Devon beach today, is a giant example of the rather aptly-named moon jellyfish.

The creature, found by a dog walker this morning, is a massive 4ft (1.2m) long - FOUR TIMES the size of the average moon jellyfish.

It was spotted by a woman at a popular beauty spot on the coast of north Devon.

She then found photographer Peter Stapleton who captured this image. But he is keeping the exact location secret - to avoid spreading panic.
The average moon jellyfish

Average size: Moon jellyfish usually only grow to 12 inches, above

The jellyfish - real name Aurelia aurita - can cause a painful rash on human skin if it comes into contact with tentacles.

Mr Stapleton said: 'A woman came up to me and said there was a huge jellyfish over on the other side of the beach.

'It was the biggest I've seen, about 4ft long with a large body and tentacles.

'As well as people there was other wildlife around it, including herons, but they seemed as puzzled as the rest of us and left it alone.'

The species - also known as common jellyfish or saucer jelly - have no bones or brain, and their colourful bodies are 95 per cent water.

They usually grow to around 12 inches (30cm).


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