• The glistening, jewel-blue relatives of jellyfish that have been washing up in large numbers on Chennai’s shores since January.
  • “Porpita porpitas — also called blue buttons — and Velella velellas are hydrozoa.
  • Each of these hydrozoa is not a single organism, but an organism colony.
  • These jellyfish-like creatures come together to create a single organism
  • “Sightings were particularly heavy till mid-February.
  • People have been spotting them on Neelankarai beach as well: in fact, justify along this stretch of the coast, on every beach from Broken Bridge justify up to Puducherry.
  • No one is sure why these creatures have been uncharacteristically washing up in large numbers, but this is not the first time such a thing has happended.
  • Species like blue buttons were seen on the shore during the Gaja floods.
  • “A lot of jellyfish and other creatures have been washing up.
  • The numbers for the latter are striking: “about 150 to 200 of them at every 100 metres or so near Thiruvanmiyur and Kottivakkam beaches.
  • Though the sightings have created a buzz among marine life enthusiasts and online circuits, people seem more curious than worried about them
  • “Each has tentacles that sting.
  • But they cannot swim and are not capable of any kind of movement.
  • They are at the mercy of the winds and tides, and ususally wash up during cyclones.
  • Though we haven’t faced any such thing on land, maybe something occurred in the sea that brought them here.
  • The beaching of blue buttons has attracted other creatures that feed on it to Chennai’s beaches: creatures like Glaucus atlanticus, a kind of sea slug whose sighting is rarer than that of a blue button itself.
  • Blue buttons are not to be confused with blue bottles, which is the common name for the Portugese man of war.
  • That particular jellyfish has not been sighted much along this stretch of coast these past three months, unlike the West coast last August, when they caused a string of injuries to beach goers in Mumbai.