COSTA BLANCA SOUTH has seen thousands of jellyfish washed up on its shores this weekend.

Most were the harmless Velella (or Sea Raft) but hundreds were found to be the extremely dangerous Pelagia Noctiluca.

Also known as the Purple Stinger, they can cause excruciating pain requiring possible medical assistance.

Most beaches in the region were affected, including those on Orihuela Costa, Torrevieja and  Guardamar del Segura.

The Purple Stinger is a fairly small and multi-coloured jellyfish, but both its tentacles AND main body are covered in stinging cells.

Stings are painful and symptoms may continue for a long time.

When large numbers group together, they have been known to clog up fishing nets and have been known to wipe out entire fish farms.

Velella are free-floating animals that live on the surface of the open ocean, and belong to the same community as the Portuguese Man o’ war.

Mostly deep blue in colour, their most obvious feature is a small stiff sail that catches the wind and propels them over the surface of the sea.

Under certain wind conditions, they may be stranded in their thousand on beaches.

Velella are carnivorous, with tentacles that are poisonous to plankton but generally safe for humans, although people do respond differently to contact with the toxins.

According to Natural Chronicles of Torrevieja, this is a unique opportunity to observe both of the invertebrates in the same habitat.

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