What is The Pacific Australian Bluebottle? Protection, Prevention and Treatment!

Posted by ecostinger on 28th Jun 2020

I was once told that the moment you jump in the water, you become a part of the food chain. With at least 71% percent of the planet being water with about 228,450 known species and as many as 2 million that are still a mystery, the vastness and the depth can turn anyone into sushi.

The Pacific Australian Bluebottle is one of the prettiest yet most dangerous water inhabitants in this part of the globe. Also known as the Indo-Pacific Man o’ War, it is a siphonophore, not a jellyfish as most people would refer to, which are specialized polyps that move in colonies. They are easily spotted due to their blue sac or pneumatophore that floats on the water’s surface like a blue bottle, thus the name.

The bluebottle typically travels with an entourage and is made up of four colonies that co-exist with each other in order to survive. The group floats depending on the wind direction where the three other polyps are responsible for hunting, digesting, and reproducing.

They are predatory polyps that feed on small fish, crustaceans, and mollusks. Their tentacles are packed with stinging cells that they use to paralyze and catch prey. They are smaller and less venomous than the Portuguese Man o’ War and they produce their own eggs and sperm for reproduction. And though their sting causes pain and swelling, no human fatalities have been recorded yet.

Bluebottle Fun Facts

1. They are related to anemones and jellyfish but are short of being considered as one.

2. They can still sting even in death or after being washed up on the beach.

3. They are the only item on the Pacific Blue Gaucus’ menu. They keep the bluebottle’s stinging cells to defend themselves against their predators.

Bluebottle Protection and Prevention

Bluebottles come in hordes. Though they may not be too easy to spot in the water, advance parties are usually observed sprawling along the beach. As attractive and as pretty as they can be, better not get in contact with them as they can still sting long after these gas-filled organisms have died.

Here are a couple more preventive tips:

Make sure the coast is clear, literally.

When detected on the beach, it would be better to alter your swimming activities at least until the coast is clear as even tentacles that have broken off pack a sting which can cause severe pain and swelling.

Snub that yellow polka-dot bikini.

The men would probably hate me for this, but if your pain threshold is low, better cover up. Shop for protective clothing such as a lycra top, skivvy, or stinger suit. Your date may remind you that “no pain, no gain,” but you are surely “making your momma proud.”

Bluebottle Sting Treatment

In the remote possibility that a bluebottle manages to get to you, it leads us to the million-dollar question: do you or your friends need to pee?

Research says that vinegar would probably work better than our bodily fluids. Pee carries only about 25% of vinegar’s punch, so not only does it have very little effect, but it is just gross.

What To Do?

Sit the victim down and with your shorts, on try to keep them calm.

Don’t scratch or rub the infected part.

Rinse with water, fresh or from the sea, it doesn’t really matter.

Dunk in hot water to kill the protein from the venom.

If hot water is not available, an ice pack would do wonders to ease the pain.

Carefully remove any visible stinging cells or tentacle fragments with tweezers.

The name bluebottle doesn’t sound dangerous at all. But when a creature’s a.k.a. is “Man O’ War,” you know that you better steer clear. There are countless awesome species on this planet referred to as blue. This is just a reminder that these Pacific American Bluebottles can sting the blues out of you.