Perhaps also due to climate change, sightings and findings of a curious blue marine organism are multiplying in the Apulian waters and on the beaches:
The blue button – a colonial hydrozoan (i.e. a collection of smaller organisms, such as the much more dangerous Portuguese caravel) can grow up to 30 mm in diameter and lives on the sea surface and consists of two main parts: the float and the hydroid colony. The hard golden brown float is round, nearly flat, and about an inch wide. The floating organ is responsible for the vertical movement of the organism and also contains pores that are capable of communicating with other P. porpita organisms and their surroundings. The hydroid colony, which can range from bright azure turquoise to yellow, resembles tentacles like those of jellyfish. Each filament has numerous branches, each of the bumps of stinging cells called nematocystis ending at the distal end. The blue button has a single mouth located under the float, which serves both for the suction of the preys and for the expulsion of the waste. The mouth is surrounded by a ring of gonozoids and dactylzoids. Tentacles are found only on dactylzoids, which exist further from the mouth, towards the outside of the hydroid colony. In recent years, the “Porpita porpita ” (this is the name of the marine creature) seems to be increasingly present off the coast of Puglia, with sightings reported on the Gargano and Salento coasts. A question arises spontaneously: is the blue button dangerous for bathers? Apparently, no :
The sting of the blue button is not powerful but can cause – in some cases – a slight irritation to human skin . However, in recent years, it has been hypothesized that due to global warming, colonies of Porpita pacifica (another name of the species) have begun to appear in greater numbers along the coasts of Japan and the first case of dermatitis from contact of this kind. A sudden increase in the abundance of Porpita porpita was also observed in a separate study of its populations in the Ionian and Adriatic seas , possibly also due to rising temperatures in the oceans. In this regard, we report below the links to some videos spread on the web that help us to better recognize the blue button in its natural habitat:
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