Blue Sea Dragon and Blue Button

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Two venomous marine organisms, Blue sea dragon and Blue Button, usually found in deep sea were recently spotted at Chennai’s shoreline by beachgoers.

Why in News?

  • These deep-sea creatures could get pushed to shore sometimes due to a storm or some oceanic conditions.
  • The recently-hit Cyclone Michaung would be the reason why Blue Sea Dragons and Blue Buttons were thrown off the Chennai coast. 

About Blue Sea Dragon

  • Also known as the blue angel and blue sea slug, the Blue Sea Dragon is a unique underwater creature that has the ability to camouflage.
  • Scientific Name: Glaucus atlanticus
  • It is a sea slug, a class of marine organisms that are shell-less molluscs with a wide range of colours and shapes. 
  • Distribution: Mostly found throughout the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans in tropical and subtropical waters.
  • Often spotted in deep oceans, Blue Sea Dragons would go in groups, which gave them the name 'Blue Fleets'.
  • It would store venom that it consumes from other creatures to inject venom on the foreign bodies they come into contact. But the venom isn’t lethal.

About Blue Button

  • Blue Buttons, resembling button-like shapes, are not singular organisms but colonies of small predators called hydroids.
  • These colonies float “passively” along the ocean, “performing specialised roles– stinging and preying, defending the colony from predators, and producing more of their kind.
  • Scientific Name: Porpita porpita
  • They are often confused with jellyfish.
  • Distribution: Found in the tropical and subtropical waters of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans.
  • Blue Button has a blue float made of a flat, circular disc with many gas-filled tubes that keep it afloat. The disc is surrounded by tiny blue tentacles.
  • They have a ‘man of war’ mechanism, which means that they use the tentacles like body parts to sting any foreign body that comes into contact to defend themselves.
  • Their venom isn’t lethal.

Q1) What is a jellyfish?

Jellyfish are invertebrates that, together with corals, gorgonians and anemones belong to a group called the cnidarians . This animal group has stinging cells which they use both to capture their prey and as a form of defense. Like all members of the phylum, the body parts of a jellyfish radiate from a central axis. Lacking brains, blood, or even hearts, jellyfish are pretty simple critters. They are composed of three layers: an outer layer, called the epidermis; a middle layer made of a thick, elastic, jelly-like substance called mesoglea; and an inner layer, called the gastrodermis.

Source: Venomous Blue Sea Dragon and Blue Button spotted on Chennai beach