Blue Button

by Goutham Krishna

Scientific name: Porpita porpita

Phylum: Cnidaria

Family: Porpitidae

Blue button, scientifically known as Porpita porpita is a marine organism found in the tropical and subtropical waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans. These organisms are found on the western coast of India, which is bounded by the Arabian sea. They consist of colonies of hydroids found floating and propelling in the coastal sea waters. Their body is divided into two parts, which are the float and the hydroid colony. Float is the main body of the organism with a round / disc liked shape. The hydroid colony are elongated branches arising from the main body like tentacles. Hydroid colony is generally bright blue or yellow in color.  Carl Linnaeus was the first scientist to identify blue buttons in 1756.

Though they are commonly known as blue button Jellyfish due to their physical similarities with Jellyfishes, they are not genetically related to jellyfishes. Also, the blue buttons are organisms that cannot swim in ocean water. Instead of swimming, they are floated on the ocean surface with the assistance of winds and ocean currents. They are part of the neustonic food web, which includes all the organisms and species present on the surface of oceans. They hunt crabs and fish for feeding. Also, they are preyed on by various marine species like the sea slug, the blue dragon etc.

Blue button jellyfishes are hermaphrodites, i.e., with both male and female reproductive organs in the same species. Hence, they can produce sperms and eggs of their own. The mature polyps release eggs and sperm into the water, which fertilize on their own. After this, they turn into larvae which further develop into young polyps. These species communicate with each other with the help of pores present in its body.

These species are generally of zero economic and utilitarian importance to human beings. Though the stung of blue button jellyfishes are not seriously harmful to human beings, they can cause skin irritations. Due to global warming and the associated rise in oceanic temperature, a sudden rise in the population of Blue button Jellyfishes have been recorded in various parts of Earth. Overpopulation of these species is not good, considering their ability to create damage in the existing equilibrium of marine habitat.

Published by LakesOfIndia

Lakes of India is an E.F.I initiative aimed at sensitizing the larger public on freshwater habitats across the country. A blog platform where one can read about lakes across India. You can become a guest blogger to write about a lake in your hometown and initiate an action to protect that lake.

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