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Lion's mane jellyfish
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The ‘world’s longest animal’ has been spotted off the coast of Wales

Swimmers in Anglesey have been warned about a 36-metre-long lion’s mane jellyfish

Written by
Ellie Muir

What springs to mind when you hear the phrase ‘the world’s longest animal’? A giraffe? A whale? Yeah, think again. Authorities Wales have issued a warning to holidaymakers after one of them was spotted near a popular beach... and it’s a tentacled sea creature. 

The lion’s mane jellyfish, which gets its name from its orangey cluster of tentacles, was spotted by a tourist off the coast of Traeth Lligwy, on Anglesey in north Wales. The species can grow up to 36 metres in length and its sting can cause severe skin reactions including an intense burning rash. 

Richard Lee, who spotted the jellyfish while walking near the coastline, told North Wales Live: ‘I came across this bad boy on my last day on the island,’ he said. ‘There were a few others on the beach. As the summer school break has just started, I thought visitors should be warned before some poor kid gets hurt.’

The jellyfish, which are typically found in waters north of Scotland, uses its thousands of hair-like tentacles to capture, pull in and eat prey such as fish, zooplankton and smaller jellyfish. In 2016, athlete Liane Llewellyn-Hickling had to bow out of her attempt to become the first woman to swim around Anglesey in one go, after she was stung more than five times by a lion’s mane jellyfish.

Fragments of its hair-like tentacles can still sting you even if they’re no longer attached to the jellyfish, so a discarded tentacle on the shore could be dangerous for a long time after being detached. The North Wales Wildlife Trust warned that the powerful sting is ‘very nasty’ and for people to consult a doctor if the swelling becomes severe. ‘In the meantime, scrape the area with a clean stick or remove the tentacle with tweezers if you have them to hand, then rinse the area with warm to hot water to reduce swelling,’ the spokesperson added.

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