Beach warning after creatures resembling Portuguese Man o War wash up in UK

Is this a Portuguese Man o War?
Is this a Portuguese Man o War?
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Beachgoers have been warned after creatures that look like the venomous Portuguese Man o War have washed up on the British coast.

With distinctive transparent bodies, the creature is often thought to be a jellyfish, but is actually a siphonophore - a colony of tiny specialised polyps and medusoids.

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The UK Coastguard is warning people to stay safe after reports of jellyfish - which resemble the Portuguese Man o War - washing up on beaches in Dorset and Devon.

The jellyfish have so far been reported at Dawlish, Lyme, Charmouth, Bournemouth, Swanage, Seaton, Hove and Portsmouth.

Chris Sallows from the UK Coastguard said: "We are aware of these sightings after receiving multiple reports from members of the public yesterday and today.

"Until an accurate identification is made, members of the public are advised to keep away from these jellyfish and report any sighting to their local council.

"The Coastguard has also advised the local councils of these recent sightings.

"Stings from Portuguese Man o War can be very painful and potentially harmful to humans and dogs alike."

Andy Reed, who tweets as his 14-month-old golden retriever @loabi_retriever, posted photographs of the creatures on Poole beach, writing: "Ok smart people. What are these that I found washed up on #Poole Beach today?

"They're about 15cm long and seemed inflated. Needless to say I only sniffed not ate."