Alien Beach: Thousands Of Jellyfish Wash Up On Beach In Wales
Thousands of barrel jellyfish (Rhizostoma pulmo) have washed ashore on a beach in Carmarthenshire in the United Kingdom.
The sea creatures were found on Cefn Sidan Beach over the weekend, with 50 more jellyfish spotted at the harbor of Burry Port.
Members of the Carmarthenshire council believe the barrel jellyfish, which can grow to about 35 inches in diameter, were drawn to the area en masse because of the warm temperatures of the sea. The condition provides a suitable feeding ground for the jellyfish, as plankton are known to thrive in warm weather.
While the sea creatures do not pose an immediate threat to humans, beachgoers are still advised not to disturb or touch the jellyfish.
Rory Dickinson, the local parks and countryside manager, said the tide from the sea would likely take the sea creatures back to the water.
"We've seen a few dotted around the beach for the last two weeks or so," Dickinson said. "They generally make an appearance every year but their numbers have increased, partly due to the warm spell and the changing chemicals in the sea."
The number of barrel jellyfish in the area has significantly increased over the past few years because of the change in the climate. The relatively mild winters in Wales have allowed the plankton in the sea to increase, which, in turn, attracted their natural predator, the barrel jellyfish, to flock to the region.
Experts predict that the increase in the barrel jellyfish population will also draw leatherback turtles to the coast of Carmarthenshire. The stranded sea creatures also serve as an important source of food for several other animals, such as ringed plover birds.
Last month, tens of thousands of giant barrel jellyfish were spotted along the coast of Devon and Cornwall.
Images of the massive sea creatures were posted online by people who witnessed the jellyfish swarm the area. Steve Trewhella, a conservationist from Wareham, Dorset, was even able to capture close-up footage of a barrel jellyfish swimming in the sea.
According to local marine experts, the giant barrel jellyfish sought out the plankton that were starting to build up in the region.
Photo: Gene Selkov | Flickr
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