France Has Been Invaded - By Jellyfish
Recently, the peaceful French town of Palavas-les-Flots received a huge shock when their beaches were invaded by billions of jellyfish-like creatures. These creatures, called Velella (vélleles in French) travel in large groups and have a purple color to them. For about three weeks, strong winds have been pushing this group of billions of the jelly animals towards the French shores.
This is reportedly the first time an invasion of this sort has happened in the South of France. Normally, the Velella reside in the north near the coasts of Britain and Ireland. Referred to as 'by the wind sailors' or sea-rafts,' these purple creatures are not actually jellyfish, although they are put into the same family called Cnidaria, which also includes the Portuguese man o' war.
The huge grouping of velella was able to grab the winds thanks to a stiff sail. This sail is able to propel them over the sea with the help of the right wind conditions. While these little creatures do not pose a major health issue to humans, they are carnivorous, meaning they are meat eaters.
Instead of hunting fish or other larger animals (velella are usually only 7 cm long), they catch plankton and other tiny sea creatures using tentacles that hang down and contain a toxin. This toxin is very effective in paralyzing and killing its prey. This toxin is not actually too harmful to humans, though it is recommended that you avoid touching your face or other sensitive areas after handling the creatures. A clean-up operation is planned, but it is unsure how long this will take.
After discovering the shocking sight on the pristine beach, one local resident spoke with FranceInfo radio about the incident. "I first thought petrol had spilled in the sea, seeing as all the beaches are covered for miles, but no, these are jellyfish.'
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