Rare jelly creatures wash up in Dorset after storm

velella velella Image copyright Julie Hatcher
Image caption The creatures have washed up in large numbers on the Dorset coast following strong onshore winds

Thousands of tiny jelly creatures have washed up on several Dorset beaches in the wake of Storm Desmond.

Flotillas of velella velella, known as By-the-wind Sailors, have been found on beaches near Lulworth and Bridport.

Julie Hatcher, of Dorset Wildlife Trust, said: "They are designed to blow around and never come to land so to get a big mass stranding is rare."

The trust advised people not to handle them as the sting on their tentacles could cause discomfort.

Image copyright Peter Tinsley
Image caption The velella velella look like a jellyfish, but each is a colony of animals
Image copyright Julie Hatcher
Image caption The creatures have a 'sail' attached to an oval base with feeding tentacles below

Native to the Azores it has a 'sail' on its back which enables it to be blown by the wind across the sea.

The creatures, which resemble jellyfish, are a colony of animals related to the Portuguese man-of-war.

The Dorset Wildlife Trust is asking people to report their sightings on the charity's website.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites