Stormy weather battering the UK over the last couple of days caused tens of thousands of dead starfish and jellyfish to wash ashore along the coastlines in West Sussex and Hampshire.
One of the stranded species, a barrel jellyfish, was about 50 cm (19.7 inches) in diameter, which is the size of a dustbin lid. James Wileman, a witness of the event, claims he saw hundreds of dead creatures between Southsea Pier and Eastney in Portsmouth.
Storms have washed up thousands of jellyfish and starfish onto British shores | Nature | News | Daily Express: https://t.co/n9fs1sePsA— pops (@pops131) January 7, 2016
"I was hoping to throw them back into the sea until I realised they were dead. I did not even know we had starfish around here. It's the first time I have seen them in the wild, and they were dead. It was a bit depressing. You had to be careful where you trod because there were so many."
The sight is a bit unusual at this time of the year, according to Olle Akesson, the marine officer at the Sussex Wildlife Trust: "It’s a little more unusual to see them this late in the season. They’ve probably been carried in from farther offshore, probably by the recent storms. You’ll normally see much fewer this time of year, and I wouldn’t have really expected to see this many of them."
Barrel jellyfish are usually seen during August, and the Marine Conservation Society reported record sightings in 2015 for a second consecutive year.
The stranded creatures are harmless, despite their impressive size.
Featured image: The biggest barrel jellyfish sighting in UK. Image credit: Express.co.uk