Massive ‘Bluebottle’ Swarm Invades Australian Shores: Swimmers Warned

A massive swarm of bluebottle jellyfish has invaded Australian beaches amid periodic warnings issued to beach goers. The occasional arrival of these fascinating but somewhat dangerous sea creatures appears to be more evident around the shores of Sydney. According to Australian expert Martyn Robinson, the rising influx of these unique types of jellyfish is increasingly symptomatic of a continuous warming of the surrounding territorial waters.

“During the past few months the water has been quite warm and the winds from the north-east blow them onshore. They have a little float on the top which they can angle to catch the wind. They can even sting you after the animal itself is essentially dead.”

Swimmers have been reportedly cautioned about the complications associated with bluebottle stings, even from those found washed up on shore. According to reports, Nearly 10,000 people experience bluebottle encounters in Australia each year. These stunning sea creatures are often known to float in groups of 1,000 or more roaming the warm oceans of the world.

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The bluebottle also known as blue bubble or the Portuguese man o war (primarily owing to its distinct color and shape) feasts on small fish and a variety of other thriving tiny sea creatures. Somewhat distinct from common types of jellyfish, the species comprises a cluster of specialized minuscule organisms commonly referred to as zooids, meaning entities evolving from another by a process of continuous budding and division. Zooids are attached to one another and anatomically structured to the point which renders them unable to flourish independently.

Known for forcefully enveloping prey by thrusting their fierce tentacles into their bodies, they tend to release a toxic venom that completely paralyzes smaller prey prior to being steadily consumed. These deadly tentacles can grow up to a flabbergasting 30 feet in length. Known for their notoriously lethal sting, their pattern reveals an elongated chain of barbed hooks, which when examined microscopically, embodies a flawlessly fitted mechanism for latching on to its prey.

Earlier in June, a solitary bluebottle sparked unusual panic among New Jersey beach goers after being washed up on shore. Experts concluded that the creature typically spotted in alien waters may have drifted towards New Jersey shores driven by highly erratic and turbulent wind patterns.

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Bluebottle Stings in human beings are associated with an abrupt and unforeseen burning sensation that could persist for hours. Symptoms such as nausea and headache are not infrequent either. According to experts, the affected area must be left untouched in order to restrict further aggravation that may be instantly triggered upon spontaneous rubbing. Intense joint pains may also ensue after a brief period leading to progressive symptoms suggestive of severe illness in persons affected. Most importantly, children and adults with a known pathological history of allergies as well as asthma are likely to be more severely impacted as a result of compounded breathing difficulties.

According to the National Science Foundation, nearly 150 million people are exposed to jellyfish encounters around the world. While most jellyfish stings may be somewhat insignificant, certain types of rare but moderately probable tentacle exposures, namely to that of the box jelly can inject potentially fatal doses of poison. On certain occasions, species of box jelly fish have in fact been known to impair the heart condition of otherwise healthy adults in just a matter of minutes.

Recent scientific research has concluded that ‘hot water’ is by far the most appropriate and convenient remedy against bluebottle stings.

[Image credit: Karen Gowlett-Holmes/Getty Images]