Bluebottle Jellyfish


Bluebottle jellyfish can be found on our beaches.

If you lived or stayed long enough on some of eastern Australian beaches, and if you enjoy to visit the beach often
like me, then you know what I am talking about.

There can be long periods of time with no bluebottle in sight, but every so often there is a day when the beach is covered in dead blue bottle jellyfish.

Like many other Australian jellyfish, they give you a painful sting with possible other health complications, and that still works, even up to a few days, after the animal died.


If you were up to a barefeet beach walk you may want to go and get your shoes, or else you will have to watch your every step, because once you saw a few of them washed up on the beach, there will be a lot more of them.

bluebottle

They always occur in large groups and whether they get washed up on the beach depends on the time of the year as well as the strength and direction of the winds, tides and currents.

They don't drift under the water surface - they float on the surface of the water, and sail with the winds.

That is only one thing that makes them different from proper jellyfish.

That's right - bluebottle is not proper jellyfish, and therefore, jellyfish treatment such as vinegar is not only useless - pouring vinegar on your wounds actually makes things worse.

What Are They?

They are not only different from proper jellyfish, but also most other animals.

Bluebottle jellyfish is not a single organism, but instead, in a similar way to corals and sea anemones, it consists of many different individuals, so called polyps, which do depend on each other for survival.


Each polyp have their own role - some make up the tentacles that are used in defence and catching and killing the prey. Others make up the reproductive and digestive system, and yet others make up the air filled sac that enables the animal float on the surface of the water, with tentacles hanging down in the water.


blue bottle

Where Are They Found?

In Australia, we are so used to the dangerous animals that are found nowhere else in the world, that it never crosses most of our minds that this creature, for a change, is also found in a lot of ocean and sea waters in the rest of the world. But it does like the warmer - tropical and subtropical waters.

In the rest of the world it is called Portuguese Man of War, and it is known to be found in marine waters of
south and west Africa, the Mediterranean, Gulf of Mexico, west coast of Florida, Gulf of California, and Hawaiian islands.

And in Australia, it is much more common on the east coast than in the south or west, although they do turn up there too.

Sting and Venom

The tentacles of the bluebottle jellyfish are constantly fishing for food in the water, and the poison they carry is used for killing the prey.

The tentacles can be up to 30 metres long, and if you happen to be in its way you will get stung too.

The tentacles will attach themselves to your body, leaving red marks that last for a few days.

bluebottle jellyfish

The tentacles have small firing cells that inject poison into you.

The poison first causes severe, sharp pain that normally lasts for about a hour.

After that it turns to a joint ache.

In some cases, further complications such as vomiting, nausea, headache, breathing difficulties, shock, fever, muscle cramps, or back and abdominal pain may develop.

A sting can also cause an allergic reaction.

Obviously children, old people, and people with allergies are at a higher risk for complications.

blue bottle jellyfish

Treatment

First, get out of the water and try getting the tentacles off you without touching them with your fingers.

Pour salt water on the wounds.

Then pour hot water on the woulds - it defuses the poison.

Do not pour vinegar,
it will only fire more stinging cells that will release more poison (vinegar is an excellent means for box jellyfish and irukandji stings but not bluebottle).

Do not rub the affected area - again it only releases more poison.

Ice packs can be used to reduce pain.

If the pain lasts much longer than a hour, or you get a reaction of any other kind, you should seek medical attention.

No bluebottle fatalities have been confirmed in Australia but up to 30,000 stings a year are reported, most on the eastern coast of the country.






Plan Your Trip... the FREE Cape York Travel Pocket Guide

cape york travel

Get this 50 pages guide totally for FREE. It contains information that helps you getting started with planning of your trip. You get to make early-stages desicions such as when to go, how long time you should take, how to get there and get around, where to stay (general info), what will it cost.. and a short insight to what is there to see and do in Cape York.


Bring to the Trip... the full Visit Cape York Destination Guide

visit cape york

This complete 300 pages travel guide is all you need before and during your trip. Besides the background chapters on the peninsula's history and wildlife; and the comprehensive detail about all the places (down to prices, opening hours and full contact detail), it has invaluable information on at least 10 four wheel drive tracks, at least 30 guaranteed FREE camping spots on the Cape (and at least 150 on your way to the Cape), at least 40 best swimming holes, all mapped; as well as practical things - from fuel, roads, wireless internet and mobile phone reception, how to deal with the national parks booking rules; and Aboriginal land entrance and camping permits and alcohol restrictions - to vehicle preparation and accessories and necessary recovery gear by my partner Mark who is the recovery guy on northern Cape York and the Old Telegraph Track). Not to mention locals' tips on how to spot that croc and palm cockatoo ;-)



If you liked the books or this website, let others know about it! 

Link to it from your website, your blog, your forum post... Share it on Facebook, Tweet about it...



Every link helps other travellers!

Thank you for doing the right thing and letting others know :-)







Latest Pages

Notice Board

Ask a Question

YOUR Adventure

YOUR Cape Memories


Keep yourself updated
on the latest -
weather, roads,
free travel tips,
and get the
FREE Cape York
Pocket Guide!


Email

Name

Then


Don't worry - your email address is totally secure.
I use it only to send you the Cape York News.

western cape eco tours

roko island pearl farm

cooktown river cruises and dinghy hire

cape york mechanics

cape york businesses