Thousands of “alien” creatures have appeared on the sand on a British beach.
Izzy Mcarthur spotted the small transparent creatures after she had been swimming in the sea at Tor Bay, just west of Swansea, south Wales.
She share photos online and social media users were amazed, with many comparing the creatures to supernatural beings.
One said: “I think they dropped out of space myself.”
Another wrote: “They were massive.”
But Wales Online says the animals are commonly known as a “sea gooseberries”.
Izzy said the shoreline was full of them on Tuesday evening.
“I was swimming at Tor Bay from 8.15pm to around 8.50pm and it was mid to high tide incoming so they were washing up each time the waves rolled in,” she said.
“As I was swimming, I could feel them in my hands and initially thought it was just small fish but then I saw the tideline covered in them.
“There were hundreds but more like thousands as they went from Great Tor down the beach to Nicholaston and beyond.”
Sea gooseberries are often around 2.5cm in length and have a pair of tentacles that are usually up to twenty times the length of their body and are used to catch prey.
They’re a species of comb jelly, commonly found in open water in the northern Atlantic Ocean, as well as the North Sea, Baltic Sea and the Black Sea.
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Dr Chris Lowe, a lecturer in marine biology at Swansea University, said: “They are a common thing you get in the Bristol Channel this time of year. They have got lots of little hairs on their side and tentacles that they use for eating. They can be rainbow coloured.
“They feed on little animals in the surface water called plankton and you tend to get very large numbers of plankton in the spring as they like the sunshine. Sea gooseberries are reproducing to make the most of the food that’s there. We have got lots of these on the beaches.”
Madison Bowden-Parry, behavioural ecologist for The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, explained sea gooseberries are particularly common during the summer months.
She said: “They are ctenophores, or comb jellies, which are pelagic marine invertebrates that float freely in the water. They are pretty common across Britain and especially in summer.
“They feed on plankton and other small animals and will mostly follow the migration of their prey, so this could control their location in the water column i.e., at the surface feeding which could bring them into shore.”