All part of the story

By Treshnish

Physalia physalis

We went to St Ives today to see an exhibition at the Tate by a South Korean artist called Haegue Yang.   We arrived just in time to have a picnic lunch on the beach before our timed entry.  Sun was shining and the beach looked wonderful, white foamy surf and scattered walkers and families. 

Because we had Coco with us we had to go in in relays, and whilst I was in with M, S walked Coco on the beach.  And sent me a photograph of one of these.  I thought it was another Velella velella which I was hoping I might find more of on the beach beside the Tate.  

S and I switched over and I went off with Coco to see if I could see any of these extraordinary creatures.  I found 2, as had he.  Much bigger than the Velella velella, which are only a couple of inches in length. These were about 6 inches long.  

I asked Twitter what they were and got a very quick response - to leave them alone as they were Portugese Man O War.  Not a jellyfish but a Siphonophore, a colony of specialized animals called zooids that work together as one. Highly venomous. They cannot propel themselves in any direction but are reliant on sea currents and wind to move them. Their tentacles can be up to 50m long!  Amazing the art in nature, and appropriate, I thought, to wash up outside the Tate.  


We won't see M tomorrow as we will be locked down at Prussia Cove. Looking forward to our last day off before we head for home. 

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