EYE-popping photos capture the awesome scale of the world’s largest jellyfish, after an amazed beachgoer found the sea creature washed up on the Co Clare shore.
During an early morning walk on Fanore Beach, Liam MacNamara came across several lion’s mane jellyfish.
Coffee cup shows scale of creature washed up on Fanore Beach in ClareCredit: Credit: Liam MacNamara/Pen News
Liam MacNamara said he could see the huge jellyfish from a distanceCredit: Credit: Liam MacNamara/Pen News
The lion’s mane jellyfish sting can be nasty, but not fatalCredit: Credit: Liam MacNamara/Pen News
And they were so large that he could see them from afar.
He said: “I spotted them the minute I got to the beach, from the top of the walkway down.
“There was one in view and it looked quite big.
“Another three turned up not too far away during my walk and three more were about a mile away still in the water – I spotted them from the car as I drove to work!”
The jellyfish is said to be the largest in the world, with the largest specimen ever discovered trailing tentacles 120ft long and a seven-foot-long head known as the bell.
It can also deliver a painful sting; one study from Sweden’s University of Gothenburg described “pain that can last for hours or days.”
MacNamara estimates that the largest jellyfish he encountered had a bell that was four feet wideCredit: Credit: Liam MacNamara/Pen News
Jelly belly…gigantic lion’s maneCredit: Credit: Liam MacNamara/Pen News
Though the sting is not fatal, it can cause nausea, sweating, muscle cramps, and loss of consciousness.
One mass stinging in 2010, which stung around 150 people, is thought to have been caused by a single lion’s mane jellyfish that had broken up.
Liam said: “The only part that’s safe to touch is the bell section.
“Any other part could contain the tentacles and stingers, and a sting can be quite severe.”
Mr. MacNamara estimates that the largest jellyfish he encountered had a four-foot-wide bell.
The beachgoer photographed the jelly with a coffee cup for scale, with the majestic purple creature dwarfing the mug.
The size was a dead giveaway for Liam, who runs the Burren Shores Beachcombing Facebook page.
He said: “I knew instantly what they were.
“They were quite stunning in colour and had stranded in perfect condition.
“The bell of the biggest one was probably about four feet in diameter – and much bigger when taking the tentacles, stingers and the rest of the body into account as it lay spread out on the sand.