A warning has been issued to beachgoers in Ayrshire following a sighting a poisonous weever fish.
The fish, found at the south end of Ayr Beach, has sharp spines along its dorsal fin which stick up out of the sand and can be extremely sore if stood on.
The sandy-coloured fish, measuring around six inches, are more commonly found in warmer waters but have bred rapidly around Britain’s coast because of the recent spell of hot weather.
The fish lies buried in wet sand at low tide or shallow water. If it is stood on, a person’s foot can become swollen and painful for up to two weeks.
To help raise awareness of the potential danger, a series of posters will be put up asking visitors to be vigilant while using the beach, particularly at low tide.
Lesley Bloomer, South Ayrshire Council’s Executive Director, Economy, Neighbourhood and Environment, said the guidance was being issued as a precautionary measure.
She added: “Weever fish are common to our coastal areas, but the recent hot weather means there are more of the fish than normal.
“We were contacted by a member of the public with a reported sighting on Ayr Beach recently and are now spreading the word to let people know what to look for.”
“I would stress that there have been no reported injuries because of people getting stung and by promoting a common sense approach we hope that families will still enjoy their time by the sea.”
There are some basic precautions to avoid getting stung. The simplest is to wear some form of footwear, which greatly reduces the likelihood of coming into contact with the fish.
For healthy adults that get stung, the most effective treatment is to put the affected limb in water as hot as you can stand without causing scalding as the heat helps to break down the poison and it also increases blood flow to the sting causing natural cleaning and healing.
The recommendation for the most at risk groups, the very young and elderly, is to seek immediate medical attention.