Blue Bite of Blue Bottles

The oceanic world seems to be a mysterious treasure which humans are just starting to discover. But when it comes to personal preference, the aquatic world is far more fascinating for me than the land; the animals living underwater come with all sorts of stunning skills and abilities that I, myself wish to be an octopus or a seahorse, or perhaps the gorgeous jellyfish.

Speaking of jellyfish, there are numerous species of jellyfish that exist in the depths of the ocean and not all of them have been studied. One such species is known as Blue Bottles, which are prevalent in Australia. However, Australia is not the only place where these majestic creatures are washed up. Even in my part of the world, these notorious blue bottles tend to wash up, though it had been a long time since I’ve heard news about them.

But what exactly are blue bottles?

Blue Beauties

When I was about seven or eight years old, that was the time when I first heard about the blue bottle. I knew they were some kind of ocean creatures as they were found on the beach and a lot of people were falling victim to their deadly sting. But I did not know they were a breed of jellyfish. In my little head, I imagined them to be the shape of a bottle with blue bodies, who went around biting people with their tiny but sharp teeth. And it did not help when my school friend gave me this exact description, claiming she had been stung by the blue bottle—which was a lie obviously.

But once the news of blue bottles died out, I also forgot about it, until recently when I read about them and this time I knew I had to search about them. That’s when I got my first good look at these beautiful jellyfish and found out that they were not as I expected them at all.

The blue bottle jellyfish are Siphonophores, which includes species such as jellyfish and corals and these blue bottles are colonial jellyfish. If you ever get a chance to look at them, you will agree as to why they are strong enough for colonization. I mean, they look like oceanic royalty.

Now just as the humans have different systems inside the body which work together to help it function, there are different systems or colony members which the Siphonophores are made of known as persons. This is just fascinating. There are tiny people working to help these blue bottles function and survive… at least that’s how I imagine it. There are different kind of persons such as reproductive persons and stinging persons, and even a separate person that is responsible for the function of bladder, which help this jellyfish thrive.

Blue bottles have the most gorgeous shades of blue with the bladder and tentacles taking on the hues of blue, which gives them their names, along with the fact that the sack just floats in the water, making it visible for people, looking like a blue bottle. Another fascinating fact about these jellyfish is that they have the tendency to be either left or right handed and usually the right handed ones—as their heads are angled to the right—tend to become victims of drifting winds when they choose to flow in the same direction.

The Deadly Sting

The reason why the blue bottles are feared is because of their deadly and painful sting, which they deliver via the tentacles.

Now usually when a jellyfish washes up on shore, it is declared to be dead and harmless, however, the blue bottle still poses a threat even after the soul has left the world as it still has the ability to sting the person if he or she comes in contact with it. But their deadly counterpart the Portuguese Man o’ War is deadlier, so try to avoid it if you happen to come across it.

When talking about the notorious sting of these Siphonophores, there are myths circulating around as to whether peeing on the sting can help alleviate the pain and help neutralize the effects of the bite. And after going through various articles, the answer is a plain No. Not only it is a myth, but urine can either have an acidic or an alkaline effect on the bite, which can result in not-so-pleasant sensations experienced by the victim. It is better if the sting is washed with sea water and in order to alleviate the pain it is better to use an ice pack.

So the next time you see this majestic but deadly jellyfish, take a picture from afar rather than getting up close and personal for a selfie, as these blue bottles will bite you and will leave you in considerable pain.

However, if you are like me and want to know more about these beauties and perhaps get to know how to treat a bite from a blue bottle, you guys can check out some videos here.

References

https://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/blue-bottles-are-coming-what-exactly-are-these-creatures/

http://www.siphonophores.org/

http://mentalfloss.com/article/550892/facts-about-portuguese-man-o-war

https://oceana.org/marine-life/corals-and-other-invertebrates/bluebottle

11 Comments

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