Giant jellyfish up to a METRE across invade British waters just as families head to beach for Easter holidays

A RARE jellyfish – the largest kind ever spotted in the UK – has been snapped by thrilled divers off the coast of Dorset.

Known as ‘barrel jellyfish’ or ‘dustbin jellys’, the massive creatures are normally only ever spotted once every five years in the UK as there is very little known about their migration habits.

5 The largest jellyfish captured in the UK have been spotted by divers in Dorset
Giant jellyfish up to a METRE across invade British waters just as families head to beach for Easter holidays5 Photographer Paul Pettitt got up close to the jellyfish to capture his shots

These shots of divers alongside the non-poisonous jellyfish, which are known for their huge size, were captured off Chesil Beach, on Dorset's Isle of Portland, on Saturday.

Photographer and bathroom fitter Paul Pettitt, 53, heard the jellyfish were back in town and decided to head down to the beach with two other divers.

Paul, from Worth Matravers, Dorset, said: "The barrel jellyfish can grow to the size of a dustbin, hence the name.

"They're completely harmless to humans and are a favourite meal for Leatherback Turtles – it's thought they follow plankton around the oceans but no-one is entirely sure.

"The photos were taken at Chesil Beach – we had heard that the Barrel Jellyfish were back, so three divers including myself entered the water to look for them."

LARGEST SPOTTED IN UK

Paul's beautiful photos show up-close images of the unusual creatures, under the bright blue water.

He can be seen snorkelling incredibly close to the harmless jellyfish, coming within arm's length to get the perfect shots.

This comes after a jellyfish invasion earlier this month caused by a 19C heatwave.

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Hundreds of barrel jellyfish were found across the South West coast as the warm spell sent plankton levels soaring.

One marine enthusiast said he'd seen more of the creatures – the largest jellyfish found in UK seas – over three days at the beginning of April than all of the previous 15 years.

The spectacle was pictured in Falmouth, Cornwall, as swarms of the huge jellyfish gathered underwater and many washed up on the beaches.

Giant jellyfish up to a METRE across invade British waters just as families head to beach for Easter holidays5 Known as barrel jellyfish or dustbin jelly they are normally only ever spotted once every five years in the UK
Giant jellyfish up to a METRE across invade British waters just as families head to beach for Easter holidays5 The barrell jellyfish can grow to the size of a dustbin hence the name
Giant jellyfish up to a METRE across invade British waters just as families head to beach for Easter holidays5 It is thought the warmer weather is bringing the jellyfish to our coasts
Surfer films thousands of jellyfish lurking under the surface of the water off Cornwall

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