The barrel jellyfish found on Springvale Beach, Ryde. Picture by DAN GACHES
A BARREL jellyfish — one of the largest jellyfish in British waters — was washed up on an Island beach last week.
Patsy Gaches, of High Street, Ryde, was walking her dogs along Spingvale Beach, Puckpool, when she spotted the creature on the sand, which she assumed had been there since high tide the night before.
She said: "The tide was coming in and the creature was soon covered. It was gone when the tide went out again.
"Although I have seen beached jellyfish around the world, I have never seen one of that size and certainly never on the IW."
According to the Marine Conservation Society (UK) SouthEast, you are most likely to see barrel jellyfish from a boat while out at sea. They are less common close to the coast.
It said barrel jellyfish are unmistakeable, their large bodies highly visible, and the smooth bell and cauliflower-shaped mass beneath are very distinctive.
Dr Colin Pope, the IW Council’s senior ecology officer, said: "The barrel jellyfish (Rhizostoma octopus) is an occasional visitor to our shores during spells of warmer weather.
"It is one of the largest jellyfish to venture into British waters — an impressive sight at up to 90cm in diameter. Although the barrel jellyfish is harmless, our advice is to look but not touch jellyfish washed up on our beaches as some can sting."