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Rare violet sea snails spotted for the first time in years

"They are beautiful creatures - very special."

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(Photo by Scott Reid via SWNS)

By Lauren Beavis via SWNS

Rare violet sea snails have been spotted in UK waters for the first time in years - here to feed off an influx of 'jellyfish'.

Over 60 of these "uniquely mesmerizing" species have been seen dotted around the beaches of the Isles of Scilly, off Cornwall.

The snails, which can be seen every few years, were seen around St Mary's and Tresco.

Scott Reid, 32, from Scilly Rockpool Safaris said he has seen the intriguing snails before, but "never anything to this extent."

He said: "On Scilly alone there has been over 60 but I'm certain there will be many more along other coastlines.

"They are beautiful creatures - very special."

(Photo by Scott Reid via SWNS)
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He explained how their appearance was likely to be a result of "winds and currents coming from the right areas" bringing By-the-wind Sailors - small creatures which resemble jellyfish to the shores.

Scott, who has resided in Scilly for four years now, said: "They feed on marine hydrozoans such as Portuguese man o' war and By-the-wind Sailors.

"The sea snails ingest the toxins of the stinging cells.

"They also spent their lives on the sea surface and use this raft of gas-filled bubbles to keep them afloat, which they develop using a special mucus they excrete."

Scott, who helps his wife run rockpooling safari sessions, says they are always on the look out for the "very cool creatures."

He said: "They are always something we look our for down here when we go out.''

Scott says this is the first season that Scilly Rockpool Safaris has been operating as a business, and they are almost booked for the whole of summer.

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