July 26, 2008

Summer Visitor Could Have Sting in the Tail

If you go down to the beach this summer you could be in for a painful surprise.

Because moon, blue, compass and lion's mane jellyfish are thought to be having their own vacation on the Lincolnshire coast.

Climate change is resulting in British waters becoming warmer, encouraging more of the creatures to visit the county's shoreline.

Some have already been spotted but the Marine Conservation Society now wants is asking county holiday-makers to record any sightings of the slippery stingers.

Rachel Shaw from the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust said little was known about jellyfish found along the county coast, although moon jellyfish were already common.

"We would encourage everyone who is visiting the beach this summer to look out for them and send their sightings to the Marine Conservation Society," she said.

"In that way we will learn more about these fascinating animals."

Society biodiversity programme manager Peter Richardson said: "We have not had reports from people in Lincolnshire so it would be great if readers could get in touch."

The aim is to create a 'jellyfish map'. This in turn will help to build up a picture of the habits of critically endangered leatherback turtles which feed on the migrating animals.

"Everybody knows what a jellyfish looks like but they do not often know a lot about different species and there is not a national picture of where they appear," said Mr Richardson.

"The key message is to look don't touch because some will have a nasty sting."

For the full story see Friday's Lincolnshire Echo.

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