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Sting in tail as Portuguese Man O'War wash up in Cornwall

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 08, 2012

A Portuguese Man O' War on a beach in Cornwall

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More potentially deadly Portuguese Man O'War could be washed up on Westcountry beaches, conservationists have warned.

Dawud Lee, 10, from Penzance, was stung by one of the creatures while playing on the sand at Perranuthnoe, West Cornwall, last week.

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and Cornwall Council confirmed they had received further sightings from Bude in the north of the county to Portheras Cove in the west.

Dr Peter Richardson, MCS biodiversity programme manager, said the last major stranding of the creatures was in 2009 when 60 animals were found.

"Last weekend a member of the public contacted Cornwall Council about a small number of what MCS identified as Portuguese Man O'War washed up at Portheras Cove," he added. "We then had reports of similar sightings at Summerleaze and Widemouth beaches. Our most recent reports were from Portheras on Thursday morning. With earlier strandings in Ireland, these recent sightings could herald the arrival of more of the creatures as they get blown in from the Atlantic."

Despite appearances, the Portuguese Man O'War isn't a jellyfish but a group of marine organisms which live together and behave as one animal.

Its long, blue tentacles can deliver a painful, and potentially lethal, sting. Anyone who is stung should seek medical advice. Sightings can be recorded at www.mcsuk.org.

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