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Pictures have emerged showing the shocking moment a diver in English waters came face-to-face with the world's largest jellyfish – which can sting 150 people at once.
Darren Martin, 59, from Tyne and Wear, encountered the gigantic lion's mane jellyfish when he was out diving in the North Sea at Brown's Bay.
He said: “It caught my attention as I’m always looking around for different things to photograph while I’m underwater.
“Its appearance was a cream-coloured, dome-shaped top with long tendrils – these look like long bits of thread and string hanging from underneath the dome.”
The photos show Darren's fellow diver Chris Hackers, who has his entire lower body covered by the massive creature.
The jellyfish's stringy tentacles can also be seen, with hundreds of them trailing beneath its bell.
Lion's mane jellyfishes are thought to be the largest of the species in the whole world, with the biggest of them stretching longer than a blue whale.
The US state New Hampshire made headlines in 2010 when a single lion's mane jellyfish was blamed when around 150 people fell victim to a mass-stinging.
Mr Martin reckons the creature he saw was more than six-and-a-half feet in size.
He said: “I’ve encountered them on numerous occasions but normally they are a lot smaller."
A study by the University of Gothenburg in Sweden looked into the jellyfish's nasty sting, and described “pain which can persist for hours or days”.
The sting isn't fatal, but one of them can lead to nausea, sweating, muscle cramps and impaired consciousness.
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For most, however, the pain is mild.
Mr Martin, an experienced diver, said: “I was never concerned about being stung as it just feels like a nettle sting.
“But sometimes you can get an allergic reaction to them and the sting can last a day or two.”
He added: “The northeast coastline is fascinating and you never know what you are going to see when you descend into the sea.”
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