Some of the smartest resorts in the Mediterranean are struggling to deal with hundreds of unwanted guests.
The intruders are mauve-coloured jellyfish which drift around in a huge swarm and can pack a nasty sting.
In a single day recently, medical teams treated 500 casualties along a ten-mile stretch of beach between the chic French resorts of Nice and Cannes. An emergency operation was mounted to rescue a group of youngsters stranded on a raft surrounded by the stingers.
Anti-jellyfish nets are being used as well as a 30-foot catamaran, dubbed ‘a hooverboat,’ that’s been sucking them out of the water.
Marine biologists say rising water temperatures and pollution have produced an increased amount of plankton - the stingers’ natural diet - while overfishing has reduced the number of shark, turtle and tuna – their main predators.
The species menacing the stretch of coast is the Pelagia Noctiluca. Its sting can cause severe burns and in some cases scarring.
by Andy Moreton