Portuguese men-of-war found in Cornwall

Portuguese Man of War Image copyright Peter Soper
Image caption One of the animals was found this weekend at Portheras Cove, near Morvah, Cornwall

Beach visitors are being warned to avoid potentially lethal Portuguese men-of-war following sightings in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) said it had received reports of several washing up.

Dr Peter Richardson from the charity said these sightings could be a sign more are coming. He asked people to report any sightings.

The last significant strandings of men-of-war was in 2009 and 2012.

He said: "With the earlier strandings in Ireland, these recent sightings could herald the arrival of more of the creatures as they get blown in from the Atlantic."

'Agonising and potentially lethal'

The Portuguese man-of-war is not a jellyfish but is closely related, and consists of a floating colony of tiny marine organisms living together.

Dr Richardson said a transparent purple float, the same shape as a Cornish pasty is visible on the water's surface with a blue, tentacle like polyp hanging below the water.

He said: "It's the tentacle-like polyps that can give an agonising and potentially lethal sting."

One was found at Portheras Cove in Cornwall, the same place as a sighting at the same time in 2015.

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