Thousands of jellyfish-like creatures wash up on beach in Hayle

Cornwall jellyfish BPM media
Thousands of 'by-the-wind-sailors' washed up in Hayle Credit: BPM Media

Thousands of jellyfish-like creatures that are part of the Portuguese man o' war family have washed up on a Cornish beach.

Known as 'by-the-wind sailors' the creatures are made up of a colony of tiny individual animals.

They are not true jellyfish but are commonly referred to as such because of their appearance.

The 'sail' allows the organism to catch the wind and travel on ocean currents, using its stinging tentacles to prey on young fish and other small animals while it travels.

One beachgoer spotted what he called 'thousands' washed up across Gwithian Towans, in Hayle, this morning (July 4).

Vast numbers of their electric-blue sails can be seen strewn across the sands in pictures.

The creatures are relatives of the Portuguese man-of-war. Credit: BPM Media

Velella velella, which is the scientific name, occur in warm and temperate waters in all the world's oceans and are relatives of the Portuguese man-of-war.

They are classed as colonial hydroid and not jellyfish which they resemble.

They are only thought to live for around a month and do not pose a human threat like their counterparts.

According to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust's Marine Strandings Network they do not pose a threat to humans or pets but it is advisable not to touch your face or eyes if you have handled them.

You should also always wash your hands after handling anything stranded on the beach.