Porpita porpita, the Blue button;
Volusia county, Florida (20 May 2014).
The Blue button is a small Hydrozoan Cnidarian that can be, at times, very abundant along our Volusia County shorelines. Not true jellyfish, many Hydrozoans are actually colony organisms — that is organisms that are better defined as colonies of organisms (hydroids) functioning together as unified biological systems. If you’ve ever heard of the potentially-painful Portuguese man o’ war, that is also a colonial Hydrozoan. The Blue button, which is fairly tiny in comparison, lacks the stinging potency of their larger, more inflated relatives. They are, for most people, benign to the touch, but some people may feel irritation where contact is made.