Blue Button Jellyfish Wash Ashore

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 - 7:06am

The venomous warning flag is flying high on South Padre Island as changing winds have forced some stinging sea creatures ashore. Jellyfish are fairly common, but Blue Button Jellyfish are somewhat rare to see.

"I used to go to Port Aransas and I used to go to Padre for year and I've never seen anything like the little circles, ever. Of course I've seen jellyfish and sea weed but never anything like that," says a tourist from Temple, Texas.

This was the case over the weekend on South Padre Island. According to officials at Texas Parks and Wildlife, the organism is actually not a true jellyfish but a hydroid colony of polyps.

"I picked it up and it stayed there and I threw it cause it like freaked me out cause I didn't know what it was, but it left little blue things on me," says a beachgoer.

The blue tentacle like strands are individual organisms attached to the float, that's the whitish, circular part in the middle. The organisms generally ride along the top of the sea.

But on Saturday, instead of drifting in the sea, the Blue Button Jellyfish made an appearance among beach goers.

Officials with Texas Parks and Wildlife say there is relatively little risk in swimming with the sea creatures.

With the mass amounts drifting through the water though, swimmers and those walking along the beach took precaution.

Officials say the organism doesn't actually sting like a jellyfish does, but can cause slight irritation in some people if it comes in contact with skin.

"I got a big mark across my right arm here earlier, and it doesn't really hurt, just hurts if I rub it or itch it, but if you leave it alone it goes away. It's not that bad," says a tourist from Wimberley, TX.

As of Monday afternoon, the majority of the Blue Button Jellyfish had washed back into the ocean.

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