Odd-looking sea critters have been found littering in the shores of New Jersey. Those who saw them said that the creatures were so vibrant they could not help but stop and notice.
The creatures, which come in shades of green and blue, and feature long, dark tentacles, were later identified as “blue button jellyfish,” a disk-shaped floating organism that usually measured about an inch in diameter.
Suzanne Schenker, who spotted a pair of the creatures while walking along the coast of Beach Haven, said that she has never seen the creatures before.
Schenker, who shared photos of the bizarre-looking creature on a Facebook group called New Jersey Jellyspotters, said the she can’t help but notice the blue buttons because of their color. She also noticed that the creatures left a turquoise stain on the sand.
“For some reason I looked down and there were these incredibly blue jellyfish in the sand,” she told CBS New York.
Paul Bologna, a jellyfish expert from Montclair State University, said that he has only seen the creatures in Florida, and never heard of them washing up on Jersey Shore until last week.
Rory Conner Hogan from Jenkinson’s Aquarium said that the species are not from around the area and were actually from subtropical areas.
Bologna thinks that these tropical creatures were likely carried north to New Jersey by Hurricane Florence, which lashed into the Carolinas last month.
He nonetheless said that there is nothing to fear around these creatures. Although the organisms can potentially sting, Bologna said that they are not really that dangerous.
The experts, however, warned that the blue button jellyfish is not the only one carried by the Hurricane Florence but other stinging jellyfish as well. Hogan advised people to still be cautious when they stroll in the sands.
Bologna described the jellyfish as an unusual creature. The blue button is not a jellyfish in the true sense. It is actually a collection of lifeforms with individual responsibilities such as feeding and reproduction.
“Kind of like a mix of a clinging jellyfish and a Portuguese man o’ war,” Bologna said.
According to Climate Watch, a blue button colony forms once a polyp divides to form new types of polyps that become specialized for different functions.
Bologna said that he does not expect the creatures to last long, as they will likely die off once the water temperature starts to drop.