Aquatic: Blue bottle

Find, identify & discuss the insects of SANParks

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Unread post by DuQues »

Seahorse wrote:Porpita belongs to the class Hydrozoa.This group contains the Bluebottles and other floating "nasties" that sting humans when they enter the sea.

Just as a bit of extra info, for those that do not know the Bluebottles:
The Bluebottle or Portuguese Man-of-War (Physalia physalis) [that name should be more familiar] is not a single animal but a colony of four kinds of highly modified individuals (polyps). The polyps are dependent on one another for survival.
The float (pneumatophore) is a single individual and supports the rest of the colony. The tentacles (dactylozooids) are polyps concerned with the detection and capture of food and convey their prey to the digestive polyps (gastrozooids). Reproduction is carried out by the gonozooids, another type of polyp.

The float is a bottle or pear-shaped sac that can exceed 15 cm. It is mainly blue, though its upper margin may show delicate shades of green or pink. It is a living, muscular bag that secretes its own gas, which is similar to air. The float has aerodynamic properties and it seems likely that sailing characteristics may be modified by muscular contraction of the crest. Physalia sails at a slight angle downwind and the course is determined by the curvature of the float and the underwater resistance of the rest of the colony. The float may project either to the left or to the right; the left-handed forms sail to the right of the wind and vice versa. Thus, if the sailing angle of one form leads to its stranding on the shore, the others sailing to the opposite side of the wind may escape.

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Unread post by DuQues »

Blue Bottle Jellyfish, also called Portuguese Man of War(Physalia utriculus)

This jellyfish is actually made up of zooids. It is not a single organism, but made up of a number of zooids. Each zooid has a specific role and together they function as if it were an animal. For example a number of zooids will make up the stinging tentacles, others will make up the feeding tentacles, etcetera.

The blue bottle feeds on small fish and other small ocean creatures. They envelope their prey with their tentacles, where a poison is released thus paralysing its prey before being consumed. The tentacles adhere extremely well to their prey. 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. The tentacles contain poison and it is best to wash the area without touching. A cold pack should be used to relieve the pain.
The tentacles lenght ranges from 15 cm to a whopping 10 meters, while the body is only 3 to 15 centimeters.
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Unread post by WarthogB »

diannet wrote:Plain brown vinegar works really well too ;) Speaking from very recent experience...

This might sound terrible but urine works well - think it is the ammonia that is released, meat tenderiser has also been known to work but have not expeienced that. Aloe gel also works well. Aloe works well on most burns,bites and stings. We always travel with a tube in SO's bag.
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Blue bottle and other Marine stingers

Unread post by Seahorse »

Internationally diving medics advocate the use of vinegar to denaturise the protein venom produced by these little blue fiends.
For Blue bottle the ideal situation is to locate the string of stingers where it is in contact with the skin. Use a clean dry cloth or similar thing to carefully remove the "thread".
Irrigate the affected area with vinegar.
If you do not have lots of the stuff you can soak a clean gauze pad in vinegar and put it on the site.
Relief is usually rapid.
Some people react badly to the stings. Keep an eye open for allergic reactions.
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Unread post by wildtuinman »

I've found that the solution to a problem is normally close @ hand to the problem itself.

A little girl was stung very badly all over her lil body by blue bottles in Balito a good few years ago.
I remembered reading about "Vygies" as a relief from the sting.
As I basically grew up with the stuff and learning from my dad(who as pigeon breeder used it for all kinds of cure for the birds) about its uses, I quickly found some on the ground up the higher areas from the beach where they occur naturally almost on every beach along our coastline and grabbed a handful before running down to the scene.

Her parents were quite young too and obviously stunned by shock.
I gave them the plants and told them to give it a try.
They did and amazingly it had a near immediate effect. Even I was surprised!

I told them to get her to a pharmacist regardless to maybe just check it out and if necessary prescribe her something.

The immediate relief it brought to the young girl was more then enough reward for me. But hellz bellz did I impress my girlfriend back then. :lol: :lol: :twisted:


Unread post by Richprins »

You are absolutely right, WTM.

These little succulent creepers occur on most SA beach dunes and the effect is perfect.

They look like a series of green upright "fingers", with triangular aspects if you look at the "leaves" from the top.

They break and crush easily, and sometimes have little pink flowers.
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Re: Aquatic: Blue bottle

Unread post by Guinea Pig »

Agulhas National Park

ImageIMG_4305 by Duco Quanjer, on Flickr

ImagePortuguese man o' war (Physalia physalis) by Duco Quanjer, on Flickr

ImageIMG_4295 by Duco Quanjer, on Flickr

ImageIMG_3412 by Duco Quanjer, on Flickr
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Re: Aquatic: Blue bottle

Unread post by MATTHYS »

Beautiful captures, DQ and GP :clap:
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Re: Aquatic: Blue bottle

Unread post by Elsa »

Really stunning pics! :clap:
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Re: Aquatic: Blue bottle

Unread post by onewithnature »

The advice from WarthogB, Seahorse and Wildtuinman from a few years back proved very helpful about a year ago when a bluebottle got the better of me in windy seas. Firs,t crushed vygies took a fair amount of the sting out, and the later application of vinegar pretty much cured it. A belated thanks to all three of you for your very valuable advice which I had lodged into a few bytes of brain power all those years back! (Incidentally, there were no aloes around, so couldn't test those out. And I definitely would not have done the urine thing unless close to death. :lol: )

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