Jellyfish spotted in sea by Gorleston - but are they dangerous?

Compass jellyfish

Compass jellyfish have been spotted in shallow waters around Gorleston and Great Yarmouth - but are they dangerous? - Credit: Ali Hughes

A wildlife trust has encouraged beachgoers to be cautious after a swarm of jellyfish was spotted along the Gorleston coast and in rivers.

Compass jellyfish - distinctive by their translucent bodies with brown compass-like markings - have been seen in the shallows of the North Sea, River Yare and River Bure.

Compass jellyfish

Compass jellyfish have been spotted in the North Sea, River Yare and River Bure. They can give a nasty sting and leave their tentacles inside people. However, their sting is not fatal. - Credit: Ali Hughes

The jellyfish, which are also known as Chrysaora hysoscella, have a bell which can measure up to 30cm across and carry a non-fatal sting. 

However, caution is still advised if beachgoers spot them in or out of the water.

A spokesperson for Norfolk Wildlife Trust said: "Compass jellyfish give a nasty sting, so if you spot them during a visit to the beach – look, but don’t touch. 

"Once they have stung something, jellyfish often leave the tentacle behind and can continue to sting using it even when not connected to their body."

Compass jellyfish. Picture by Steve Pease.

Compass jellyfish. Picture by Steve Pease. - Credit: Steve Pease.

The jellyfish feed on small fish, crabs and even other jellyfish and are a common sight on British shores from May until October.

For more information, visit the Norfolk Wildlife Trust website.