Rare glowing sea creatures spotted in UK waters off coast of Cornwall

  • Incredible footage of the glowing sea creatures, Salps, spotted in Cornwall

A group of glowing sea creatures which are rarely seen in the UK have been spotted in Cornwall.

The creatures have been identified as Salps by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

It is thought that the right conditions this summer have caused the population of Salps to grow rapidly.

Heather Hamilton, an underwater photographer originally from St Marys on the Isles of Scilly, photographed the creatures when exploring near Logan Rock.

Unsure exactly of what they were, she asked for Seasearch Cornwall's help in identifying them.

She told ITV News West Country: "We were kind of around like the Logan Rock area, which is just before Porthcurno.

The creatures were seen in shallow water by a group of divers. Credit: Heather Hamilton / Cornwall Underwater Photography

"There was a bloom of them. We knew a little bit about them, I think they're related to sea squirts.

"I put a picture on SeaSearch Cornwall's Facebook page just to try to find out a little bit more.

"I've seen them before in the sea but I've only seen individual ones. I've never seen them all together, that seems like something you'd see in really deep water or on documentaries.

"We were exploring really shallow water, probably from about a metre or so. We didn't go out too far but they were just there- right from the top of the surface almost right to the bottom where the sand was.

"It felt like I was going through space."

The beautiful creatures are not often found in UK waters. Credit: Heather Hamilton / Cornwall Underwater Photography

Ms Hamilton who has studied underwater photography from a young age said the discovery defines why she's passionate about the UK's marine life.

She added: "People think that there's not tonnes of life beneath the sea around the UK but they couldn't be more wrong.

"A lot of people think it's only in the tropical countries that you see these amazing things but really they're all around us."

Marine conservation officer for Cornwall Wildlife Trust Matt Slater said that Salps are rarely spotted in Cornish water, but when they are, they can reproduce quickly.

He said: "Salps are oceanic creatures that when conditions are right can reproduce and grow rapidly creating huge population booms.

People are being urged to report sightings to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust. Credit: Heather Hamilton/Cornwall Underwater Photography

"The species we are seeing around the Cornish coast at the moment is thought to be the Common Salp (Salpa fusiformis).

"They are extremely fast-growing species being able to reproduce rapidly to take advantage of good conditions – i.e. planktonic food for them to filter.

"Salps have a gelatinous barrel-shaped transparent body made of cellulose and circular muscles within this are able to contract pumping water rapidly through the tube-shaped body.

"A mucous net is used within the barrel to filter and capture phytoplankton from the water it pumps and this is brought down to the nucleus – a ball-shaped structure that contains the guts and reproductive organs.

"We would urge the public to report sightings of salps to Cornwall Wildlife Trust."

Salps found washed on the beaches or on the shore should be reported to the Marine Strandings hotline.

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