Masses of bluebottle jellyfish wash up on beaches in Sydney, Australia

Blue bottles washed ashore at  La Perouse beach
Blue bottles, pictured on La Perouse beach, can still sting after being washed ashore. (Supplied: Kim Colville)
A flotilla of bluebottles has washed ashore on Sydney beaches creating a beautiful, but dangerous lining on the sand.
 
Australian Museum naturalist Martyn Robinson said the bluebottles’ arrival was a sign Sydney waters were warming.
 
“During the past few months the water has been quite warm and the winds from the north-east blow them onshore,” he told Richard Glover on 702 ABC Sydney.
 
The little blue beast found on Sydney beaches is most commonly a Pacific Man o’War, which can grow up to 15cm.
 
The larger bluebottles which tend to dwell in the Atlantic Ocean — Portuguese Man o’War — also occasionally wash into Sydney waterways.
 
Man o’Wars are found—sometimes in groups of 1,000 or more — floating in warm waters throughout the world’s oceans
 
Bluebottles are not capable of swimming ashore and once beached will remain on the sand until the waves wash them away, creating a kaleidoscope of colour on the sand.
 
“They have a little float on the top which they can angle to catch the wind,” Mr Robinson said.
 
But swimmers have been warned bluebottles could sting, even when washed ashore.
 
“They can even sting you after the animal itself is essentially dead,” Mr Robinson said.
 
And the stinging cells in the long blue trailing tentacles could still fire a barb, even if the bluebottle “head” had broken up in the waves.
 
More than 10,000 people report being stung by bluebottle in Australia each year, with up to 30,000 reports in peak years.
Courtesy of abc.net.au

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