With a sting in their step

OUT OF THE BLUE: The arrival of bluebottles on Gisborne beaches has sparked a warning to watch where you are walking. Taylor-Leigh Parsons and short-haired Griffin Molly took a stroll down Midway Beach and said she was shocked by the number of bluebottles on the beach. Pictures by Liam Clayton
Some of the creatures found at the beach.

A WARNING to watch your step on the beach comes as the weather starts to heat up.

Over the past week, many blue bottles have been spotted on town and coastal beaches in Gisborne.

Blue bottles still have the ability to sting once they have beached, and can cause dogs pain and swollen mouths if they eat them.

Taylor-Leigh Parsons and short-haired Griffin Molly took a stroll down Midway Beach and said she was shocked by the number of blue bottles on the beach.

“I was initially buzzing out because I didn’t expect to see them here, let alone so many. It was bizarre.”

Originally from Brisbane, Taylor said she did not realise bluebottles were in New Zealand waters.

“I didn’t think they would be here, because the water is much colder than in Australia.

“They look so different compared with the ones in Australia. We were at Whangara the other day and the beach was covered with them.”

Midway Surf Lifesaving Club life member and president Rocky Hall said he was not surprised by the number of blue bottles washing up.

“We had a period some time over the past couple of days with east, south-east winds. When the wind comes from that direction, we always have some blow in.”

The method for treating stings had changed but the club had not had to treat anyone other than its own so far.

“In past summers, we have usually had a large number to deal with.

“Treatment has changed now. We use hot water. The old treatment of vinegar is no longer supported by surf lifesaving clubs.”

Contrary to popular belief, blue bottles, or Physalia utriculus, are not actually jellyfish but siphonophores, a group of tiny colonial organisms.

A blue bottle sting usually causes immediate pain that wears off after an hour.

Hauora Tairawhiti medical officer of health Bruce Duncan said blue bottles delivered a painful sting from tentacles that could be as long as one metre.

“Remove the sting and wash with seawater seems to be best It might leave a rash.”

Dead blue bottles lying on the beach can still sting.

A WARNING to watch your step on the beach comes as the weather starts to heat up.

Over the past week, many blue bottles have been spotted on town and coastal beaches in Gisborne.

Blue bottles still have the ability to sting once they have beached, and can cause dogs pain and swollen mouths if they eat them.

Taylor-Leigh Parsons and short-haired Griffin Molly took a stroll down Midway Beach and said she was shocked by the number of blue bottles on the beach.

“I was initially buzzing out because I didn’t expect to see them here, let alone so many. It was bizarre.”

Originally from Brisbane, Taylor said she did not realise bluebottles were in New Zealand waters.

“I didn’t think they would be here, because the water is much colder than in Australia.

“They look so different compared with the ones in Australia. We were at Whangara the other day and the beach was covered with them.”

Midway Surf Lifesaving Club life member and president Rocky Hall said he was not surprised by the number of blue bottles washing up.

“We had a period some time over the past couple of days with east, south-east winds. When the wind comes from that direction, we always have some blow in.”

The method for treating stings had changed but the club had not had to treat anyone other than its own so far.

“In past summers, we have usually had a large number to deal with.

“Treatment has changed now. We use hot water. The old treatment of vinegar is no longer supported by surf lifesaving clubs.”

Contrary to popular belief, blue bottles, or Physalia utriculus, are not actually jellyfish but siphonophores, a group of tiny colonial organisms.

A blue bottle sting usually causes immediate pain that wears off after an hour.

Hauora Tairawhiti medical officer of health Bruce Duncan said blue bottles delivered a painful sting from tentacles that could be as long as one metre.

“Remove the sting and wash with seawater seems to be best It might leave a rash.”

Dead blue bottles lying on the beach can still sting.

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