Blue Button Jellyfish Photos from the Florida Panhandle

by BeachHunter on August 16, 2009

Posted by David McRee at

Jim Smith of Kingwood, Texas sent this beautiful close-up of a blue button jellyfish he photographed at Inlet Beach in Panama City Beach. Thanks Jim!

Jim Smith of Kingwood, Texas sent this beautiful close-up of a blue button jellyfish he photographed at Inlet Beach in Panama City Beach. Thanks Jim!

Kristi P. sent this photo of a blue button jellyfish (Porpita) that she encountered at St. Joseph Peninsula State Park in northwest Florida.

Kristi P. sent this photo of a blue button jellyfish (Porpita) that she encountered at St. Joseph Peninsula State Park in northwest Florida.

Here is what Kristi wrote about her encounter with the blue buttons:

We were at St Joseph Peninsula State Park on Florida’s panhandle the first weekend in August. We had never seen these jellyfish before, but the beach was littered with them, and more were floating in on the tide. They stained the sand around them as the tentacles deteriorated; after they dried up, the white discs were left.

Kristi P. also sent this photo showing that there were thousands of blue buttons washing up on the beach!

Kristi P. also sent this photo showing that there were thousands of blue buttons washing up on the beach!

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tootie August 16, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Wow, those are beautiful! I’ve never seen them before. Very interesting.

2 kat August 16, 2009 at 4:37 pm

We were at Panama City beach, Fl from 8-1-09 til 8-11-09 and saw these in the water! they are soooo pretty! the kids wanted to pick them up and play with them but i wouldnt let them. We saw some other jellys but im not sure what kind they were.

3 Hannah [: October 28, 2009 at 4:52 pm

I’m so glad that there are pictures of the Blue Button Jellyfish; I’m doing an oral report on them in science. :{D

4 reema April 28, 2010 at 2:50 am

we saw one at panama but we didnt know what it was and some of the little kids kinda threw it around glad it doesnt sting

5 scott May 2, 2010 at 9:06 am

This the first time i see them also.I work on production platform offshore right off the coast of the jettys in grand chenier.

6 Edilene May 29, 2010 at 2:51 pm

My husband and I saw 2 of them for the first time today in the morning at Jacksonville Beach,Florida. It’s so beautiful!!!

7 Jennifer Miles July 6, 2010 at 7:51 pm

hello I took my kids to the Beach in Daytona and there was a whole bunch of Blue Buttons they were pretty neat looking

8 Cynthia Gualy July 7, 2010 at 8:30 am

I saw these in South Padre, TX June 29, 2010. They washed up with some tar balls. This makes me wonder if they feed on the bacteria that eats the oil or on crude oil itself? Pretty. Glad they don’t sting.

9 Sharon C August 9, 2010 at 6:27 pm

I am vacationing with my family in Topsail Island, NC this week August 8th and saw these on the beach. Came on the internet to investigate and it was nice to find this site. I wonder if they are new to the area.

10 beachhunter August 9, 2010 at 8:09 pm

Hi Sharon, thanks for stopping by. I don’t think they are new to the NC area, but some years there are more than others. This has been a big year for blue button sightings all over the southeastern US coastal states.

11 Lesha August 15, 2010 at 2:03 pm

We just got back from Nags Head, NC. Saw several of these, both in the water, and washed ashore. Our lab “sniffed’ one before I could jerk him away. About 5 minutes later, he was throwing up and eating sea grass from the sand dunes like crazy!! We live on the water, so he has already had the “pleasure” of eating a clear jelly fish, that gave him the same symptoms. Could he have “inhaled” anything from this blue button that got down his throat and made him sick?? I was right there, he didn’t eat this one…..Thanks,

12 beachhunter August 15, 2010 at 8:59 pm

I’m not sure, but a dog’s nose is very sensitive. I can’t imagine what could be in the scent of a jellyfish that would cause that reaction, unless it was just the “memory” of the prior experience of eating a jellyfish that the smell triggered. It’s an interesting effect though. During red tide events some people who take their dogs on the beach report similar symptoms and blame it on red tide. Makes me wonder if it isn’t something else.

13 Jim August 22, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Me and my family was at Alantic Beach,NC. This last week and they were washing up on the beachs there in the hundreds as well > I was woundering if these can sting as bad as others ( I was lucky enough to get stung in shallow water ) as well as what kills these in such amounts? All of the ones washing up was dead allready. I would also like to know if its normal to see alot of smaller Sting Rays on the edge of the shores ( seen around 15 as well as got stung by one ) and are these poisonous? The sting I received was not only extremly painfull but sent a cramping like feeling in my muscles in my leg for days. Thank you , Jim

14 beachhunter August 22, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Hi Jim,
Yes, it’s normal for the blue buttons to wash up in large numbers. Their sting is very mild and some people do not seem to feel it at all. How do you know the blue buttons were dead before they washed up? I mean, what does a “dead” blue button look like? Were they in pieces? Discolored? They are fairly fragile, so I suppose some of them could get broken up by heavy surf.

As for the sting rays, yes it is normal in summer to see a lot of small sting rays in the shallow water. They are poisonous, that is why the sting was so painful and caused cramping. They can also cause a nasty infection. Soaking your foot in water as hot as you can reasonably stand it helps break down the poison and ease the pain.

Jeez, sorry you got stung by both a jellyfish AND a sting ray. That’s bad luck for sure! I hope your wounds heal quickly.

15 paula September 21, 2010 at 4:44 pm

sept.21,2010 We went to Washington oaks gardens beach side today in Palm Coast,Fl. We saw Blue Bottons jellyfish for the first time.We have lived in Florida our whole lives and never seen them before. They are so pretty! What makes them come to shore and die ? We saw about 30.

16 beachhunter September 21, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Hi Paula,
The wind and water currents bring them ashore. We’ve had an easterly wind for a week or so and it’s blowing the blue buttons toward the Atlantic beaches.

17 Mel December 27, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Lived in FL my whole life w lots of time on the beach, and remember seeing these only 1 time, in the early 70s at Ormond Beach. I remembered them as turquoise “hairy eyeballs” & always wondered what they were. Now I know – thanks!

18 Leah February 1, 2011 at 9:29 pm

These sea jellies are soo cool! They kind of look like buttons or bottle caps with blue tentacles on the sides of them! These pictures are so helpful because they are good pictures with good facts about them and plus, i have a project due tomorrow and i needed this picture! Thanx for the pictures soo much!!!!! :)

19 beachhunter February 1, 2011 at 10:17 pm

Good luck with your project, Leah!

20 Laura May 31, 2011 at 7:48 pm

On vacation with my family in Destin, FL. Been here many times before and never seen these. Glad to know what they are!! We’ve also seen many schools of stingrays swimming by. Makes for very cautious time in the water!!!

21 Louise April 8, 2013 at 7:23 am

We were in Roatan, Honduras mid March 2013. The weather was bad with lots of wind and surf. We saw lots of the blue bottle cap jellies on the West Bay Beach. Like others who commented here, we have never seen these before and we have been going to the same beach since 1998. We only saw them one or two days. The other odd thing we noticed were old encrusted bottle caps. We picked up a beer bottle cap to keep people from stepping on it and cutting their feet. Then we started noticing more old bottle caps encrusted with a hard black substance, that included sand and shell. It seemed like the weather brought many things to the surf that got deposited on the shore.

22 Amanda July 2, 2013 at 12:00 am

We just got back from camping in Cape San Blas near St. Joesph and saw these the 8 days we were there. Beautiful creatures but we didn’t know what they were at the time.

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