Blue Buttons

The remnants of Hurricane Delta blew across us and out to the Atlantic Ocean Sunday/Sunday night, with rain and 20-25 mph winds. 

Walking the beach the next day, I saw something unusual wash up on the beach in front of me.


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Blue Button
(white center is approx. one inch across)


And then another one washed up, even prettier……


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Blue Button 
(white center is approx. one inch across)


A few more waves and they were gone, washed back out to sea.  Aren’t they gorgeous?

I had never these before and researched to ID them and learn some info.

The Blue Button is not a jellyfish but actually a species of siphonophore, a group of animals that are closely related to jellyfish.  (A Portuguese Man O’ War is another siphonophore.)

A Blue Button is also known as a Blue Button Jelly, Disc Hydroid, Stinger, or Stinging Bluebottle.

Blue Buttons are found near the surface drifting in tropical and subtropical waters far out in the oceans, propelled by winds and ocean currents.  During bad weather, they can be blown ashore.  (That be Delta’s fault!) 

A Blue Button is almost flat, with stinging strands of hydroid surrounding it’s white disc.  Each strand has little branchlets off it that fatally stings its prey.  To humans, they do not give a powerful sting, but more of an irritation. 



53 thoughts on “Blue Buttons

  1. This is my first time to see the Blue Button. Most of attractive creatures with vivid colors usually have some kind of toxic stingers. Great shots! Thank you for the warning. 🙂

    • Thank you, HJ! I almost scooped up one to get it back into the water, but quickly thought it might sting. I was glad the waves took them back out, they were too pretty to leave there to die.

      • I showed Ken those pix. He’d never seen them, either and he spent many years at the coast and, had a boat & a place at the beach…Atlantic Beach. He was always around the Morehead City/Beaufort area…Pine Knoll Shores… What we call the Crystal Coast.

        • When I researched them, I found an article back in 2015 that many had washed ashore along the OBX, saying it was unusual for them to do that. We’ve camped along those islands at the south end at Emerald Coast, but explored the whole upper coast, including Morehead City. We liked that whole area, and almost went to Emerald Coast instead of OBX for these couple weeks. It was a toss up, both places are pretty cool.

          • Yes, ma’am.

            I’ve been to Currituck, Knotts Island, Fort Macon, Atlantic Beach, Morehead, Beaufort, Pine Knoll Shores, Indian Beach, Emerald Isle, Camp LeJeune, Topsail, Surf City, Wilmington, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Fort Fisher & Southport. I’ve totally missed all the lighthouses, the Outer Banks from Corolla down to Portsmouth and I’ve never been past Southport here in NC. Then, I skip down to SC with Cherry Grove, N. Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet and Charleston.

            I’ve also never been to Biltmore. There is quite a lot of my own state that I have never seen. *sigh*

  2. Pingback: Other Wildlife at OBX | Photos by Donna

  3. I have never seen such a resplendent jellyfish in my life! (Though it’s not technically a jellyfish it’s close enough.) How fortuitous that they washed up in front of you, gave you a chance to admire and photograph them, and then just as quickly washed away. Thanks for sharing this special sea adventure, Donna.

    • You’re welcome Jet, I felt they were pretty special to see and then disappear. There are so many marvels that we have not seen in the oceans. I am very fascinated with the sea life they discover at unimaginable depths. Cool stuff!

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