Blue Bottles Sydney Beaches
The Blue Bottle is also known as the Portuguese Man o’ War.
It is a common, if unwelcome, summer visitor to Sydney Beaches. At the mercy of the wind, they are sometimes blown into shallow waters, and often wash up onto the beach. Beach-goers should beware as these creatures can deliver a painful sting to the unwary swimmer - even when dead on the beach.
Blue Bottles differ from true jellyfishes in several ways. The gas-filled float supports a number of specialised tentacles, which are actually members of a complicated colony.
The individual members, or ‘zooids’ (great word), cooperate to form what looks to us like one animal-a jellyfish. Some zooids are specialised for stinging and capturing fishes and other marine animals, some are specialised for eating prey, and some are the reproductive members of the colony. Even the gas float itself is a modified colony member. The floats are of two sorts - ones that face left and others that are angled toward the right. This means that the same wind will push the two variations in different directions, avoiding all the colonies becoming washed up on the beach and dying.
Size: Gas float 2-12 cm. Tentacles up to 10 metres!
The Blue Bottle delivers a painful sting even when washed up dead on the beach. If stung, remove any part of the animal still sticking to the skin with tweezers or a gloved hand. Apply a cold pack to relieve the pain.
Do not rub with sand or a towel, nor wash with alcohol or vinegar, as this will only make the pain worse.
Only in extreme cases will resuscitation or medical assistance be needed. However, if stung medical attention should be sought.
The blue bottle feeds on small fish and other small ocean creatures. They envelope their prey with their tentacles, releasing a poison and paralysing its prey before eating.
If a tentacle is put under the microscope you will see that it looks like a long string of barbed hooks, which explains the ability of the tentacle to attach extremly well.
When a tentacle attaches itself to a human, a poison is released, and if you continue to rub the skin after the tentacle has been removed more poison or venom will be released. It is best to wash the affected area without touching. Use a cold pack to relieve the pain. Consult a doctor immediately. No deaths have ever been recorded within Australia (or New Zealand) from the sting of a blue bottle.
Blue bottles colours range from a blue to a pink hue, with a transluscent body. The float or body of the blue bottle measures between 3 to 15 cms. The tentaclesrange in length from 15 cms up to 10 metres!.
The blue bottles tentacles grows up to 10 metres in length!
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