Canoe Lake visitor may be tiny but it has a real sting

UNUSUAL A jellyfish at Canoe Lake in Portsmouth.  Picture: Jake MacWhirter
UNUSUAL A jellyfish at Canoe Lake in Portsmouth. Picture: Jake MacWhirter
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CRABS, shrimp and fish are the usual creatures you might expect during an afternoon of pond dipping at Canoe Lake.

But surprised visitors to the Southsea beauty spot have been netting something with a sting in its tail – jellyfish.

Hundreds of them have been spotted floating in the lake in recent weeks.

Jake MacWhirter, 42, went pond dipping with his children and got a shock when he discovered scores of tiny jellyfish, which are translucent and can be difficult to spot in the water.

Mr MacWhirter, of Baffins Road, Baffins, said: ‘You could literally fill an entire net with jellyfish.

‘It was surprising more than anything.

‘They are quite interesting to look at.

‘They looked fairly safe and harmless.

‘The kids were just splashing around seeing if they could catch some crabs, but it was a little bit different this time.’

Officials at Portsmouth City Council, which manages Canoe Lake, said the jellyfish were nothing to be concerned about.

Seamus Meyer, parks and recreation manager, said: ‘The water in Canoe Lake is linked directly to the sea so it is inevitable that sea creatures will sometimes be found in there.

‘We have shared these pictures with the Blue Reef Aquarium and they have identified them as moon jellyfish, also known as common jellyfish.

‘They pose little threat and the worst sting they could inflict would be the equivalent of a nettle sting and only if stung on a sensitive area like the inside of an arm.’

He added: ‘We know Canoe Lake is a popular spot for people to go crabbing, which is best done with a length of string and some bacon.

‘However if you are using fishing nets for crabbing then please look out for these jellyfish and release them straight back into the lake.’

Moon jellyfish are one of the most primitive animals in the world and breathe oxygen through their skin.

They live for about six months.