Numerous Reports of Blue Button Jellyfish on Florida’s Atlantic Coast

by BeachHunter on May 31, 2010

Blue button jellyfish washing up on Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

Blue button jellyfish washing up on Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Photo contributed by Melissa Bell. Click to enlarge photo.

For the past week or so I’ve been getting quite a few reports of thousands of blue button jellyfish washing up on the beaches from Jacksonville to Daytona Beach. According to most reports, these jellies do not normally sting, but I’ve had one report that a person believed she was stung by one. I consider that report unconfirmed at this point as she did not respond to follow-up questions.

If you’ve handled any of them or had any of them brush against you, let me know if you felt any stinging or not. It is possible that a few people might be particularly sensitive to them. Generally they are considered harmless to humans.

Close up photo of blue button jellyfish. Copyright Melissa Bell.

Close up of blue button jellyfish (Porpita) found on Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Copyright Melissa Bell.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jean Kimball July 7, 2010 at 5:24 pm

July 7, 2010 – I saw lots of blue button jellyfish at low tide this morning on Ponte Vedra Beach. I was wondering whether they sting but, after reading your blog, it seems they do not. I didn’t try handling one.

2 beachhunter July 9, 2010 at 9:30 am

Thanks for the report Jean!

3 Karen July 15, 2010 at 6:18 pm

We saw a lot of them on St. Augustine beach last week and after handling very carefully for a while, and seeing them rub against swimmers, we handled and didn’t have any problems. As a Florida native misplaced in Minnesota now (ugh) it was the first time I had ever seen them – they’re beautiful!

4 Tasha August 4, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Today for the first time in Ocracoke Island, NC we had a ton of them washing up on the beach. I’ve been coming here for 20 years and have never seen them before. I did touch them all over the top and bottom. I had no stinging sensation or any skin irratation. I don’t think they will harm you. I agree with Karen they are beautiful creatures.

5 Mollie S. August 17, 2010 at 5:33 pm

We are at Atlantic Beach NC and noticed these blue disk things washing up today at high tide and I came in to google this. They are definitely Blue Buttons. A couple of the kids said they felt a mild sting and some itching. Are they normally up this far on the coast???

6 beachhunter August 18, 2010 at 8:47 am

Hi Mollie,
I’ve been getting reports of blue buttons in the NC area for several weeks. As far as I can tell, it is a normal part of their range. This year I’ve gotten many, many more reports of blue buttons than usual. Probably just a natural cycle. Some people swear they do not sting at all, while others insist the blue buttons did cause a stinging sensation ranging from mild to moderate. I think everyone has a different level of sensitivity to them.

7 Heather August 18, 2010 at 10:36 pm

We found 2 of the blue button jellyfish in Bogue sound area near Swansboro, NC. One had washed up on shore and the tenticles were falling off. We captured the other to see if we could figure out what it was and then put it back. We have never seen them here before- it was pretty cool!

8 Mia Archer-Shee September 16, 2010 at 1:53 am

My husband and I were at the beach today at Perdido Key in Pensacola, Fl and we came across many of these beautiful creatures and while I can not report any stinging at all after handling them the tentacles did break off onto my fingers and I rubbed them onto my husband in play. A few moments later his skin was clearly red where I had rubbed the tentacles onto his skin and reported a mild stinging. I believe these creatures have these tentacles for a reason and like most other animals of the sort, they are capable of irritating (if not stinging) the skin. I had rubbed his chest and I think maybe the senstivity of the exposed area could make a difference in determining their stinging capability. I hope this helps and I did take pictures of the Blue Buttons if you’d like to see them.


9 candace May 10, 2011 at 3:44 pm

today is may 10th, i just return from the beach in daytona beach. I seen a hole school of the blue buttons, there were a lot of them that were comming up on the beach. When my family and i were swiming we saw one that was a bit larger then the one’s on the beach. Just want to let you know. I am glad to here that they are not danagers to humans.

10 beachhunter May 10, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Thanks for the report Candace! I’ve gotten several reports today of Blue buttons in the Daytona area.

11 Cindy July 26, 2011 at 4:52 pm

We were in Port Aransas Texas this past weekend 7/25/2011 and there were hundreds of these pretty little thing’s and a little girl around 5yrs old picked one up and my sister swam to go make sure she was ok because it was a typical jellyfish of course by no stinging but the tinacles did stick into her like normal. Pretty but ???????

12 Wendy McLane May 12, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Just left Ormond Beach and the Blue Buttons are EVERYWHERE!! We didn’t know what they were but there were so many you could not help but step on them or have them brush against you. I saw several people picking them up and no one we saw or in our party was “stung” or anything.

13 Allison June 4, 2012 at 12:54 pm

I live @ Atlantic Beach and the things I saw were not disks at all. They were bright blue, but looked like snail/jelly fish? I looked at one for a while and its head(I guess) slowly lifted up and would move…..?

14 sheila wyatt June 4, 2013 at 6:55 pm

It was 1981 and I was walking down the beach in Coco Beach Florida-being from Canada I wasn’t aware of jellyfish and had no idea what these round bluish discs were and I stepped on one with my bare feet. Nothing. Later I figured the reason I wasn’t stung was because it must have been dead. Luckily for me, it was a blue button jelly fish and I understand they do not sting.

15 Juli August 9, 2014 at 9:27 pm

My family and I just returned from a trip to Padre Island National Park. My oldest son found the first of these jellies that we saw and picked it up to put in his bucket. We had never seen this particular type before. He collected about 20 in total. (all of which I insisted he release pretty quickly) He touched all of them and commented that they looked like jellies but couldn’t be because they didn’t sting. He has shown no signs of stinging. The last evening we were there these jellies seemed to wash up by the hundreds! I’m glad they are harmless to people!

16 BeachHunter August 9, 2014 at 10:24 pm

Thanks for the report, Juli! I’ve added your sighting to my database

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