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What are those hairy blue creatures washing up in St. Augustine?

If you see one floating on top of the waves or lying on the beach, it's best to leave it alone.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Hairy blue creatures have been spotted washing up on several beaches along the First Coast in the past few days.

But what are they, where were they spotted and do they pose a threat to humans?

What are they?

These interesting little animals are Blue Button Jellyfish.

Blue buttons, or Porpita porpita, is a marine organism consisting of a colony of hydroids found in warm waters, according to Wikipedia

Because of this they are technically not true jellyfish but actually a Siphonophore, or a colonial organism made up of zooids, according to the website.  The animal lives on the surface of the sea and can get washed ashore during bad weather or changing tides.

Sightings

Betty Caldwell-Shelton reported seeing a blue button on Wednesday on St. Augustine Beach near the Guy Harvey Resort.

Credit: Betty Caldwell-Shelton
Blue Button Jellyfish

Linda Kemerer also spotted one earlier this week in Butler Beach.

Credit: Linda Kemerer
Blue Button Jellyfish

A Facebook page called Totally St. Augustine posted that people were seeing the creatures in St. Augustine, Crescent Beach and even the Vilano Beach this past week.

Jacksonville Beach lifeguards told First Coast News Saturday afternoon that they have had no sightings of the blue buttons in their area.

Blue Button jellyfish were spotted at St. Augustine Beach and Crescent Beach earlier this week (Sept. 13-17)! Please...

Posted by Totally St. Augustine on Saturday, September 18, 2021

Are they dangerous?

Are they dangerous? No. The blue button sting is not powerful but may cause slight irritation to human skin, according to Wikipedia. 

If you see one floating on top of the waves or lying on the beach, it's best to leave it alone.