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Blue air bubbles on sand

  1. Feb 28, 2017 #1
    Hi all,
    Not sure it's the right place to ask but I found these while walking on the beach, they seemed to have come from the sea. They "explode" if you walk on them.
    Any ideas what this could be?



  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 28, 2017 #2


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    Could be Portuguese Man 'o War (aka "blue bottle") jellyfish.
  4. Feb 28, 2017 #3


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  5. Feb 28, 2017 #4

    jim mcnamara

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    Don't pick one up. Particularly do not touch the 'tentacle' like thing. It is VERY painful, even for long time after the bladder washes up on the beach.
  6. Mar 1, 2017 #5

    Fervent Freyja

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    Oh, I would love to try and preserve one of these! Beautiful.
  7. Mar 1, 2017 #6


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    Yup ..... in Australia these are the blue bottle jellyfish .... nasty little beasts .... have been stung by them ... very painful


  8. Mar 1, 2017 #7


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    What is maybe interesting is the fact that the gas bubbles contain up to 12% of Carbon monoxide which is synthesized by a specialized organ from serine.
  9. Mar 1, 2017 #8
    Do they use that CO in their metabolic processes? or is it the product of such processes to be exuded?

    12 % in humans would be fatal for sure.
  10. Mar 2, 2017 #9

    jim hardy

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    Those darn things cause in me intense and extreme revulsion. They're a real hazard at the beaches around Miami where i grew up.
    When in the water their tentacles dangle down a couple feet to trap unfortunate little fish. If one just brushes you it deposits a toxin that gives excruciating pain in a line where it touched. It raises welts and burns for hours.
    I remember as a kid getting a mild hit just once. I'll never forget the sight of a lady who didn't know what they are and swum up under one , writhing in pain trying to pick it off her arms. . The lifeguard was wiping her down with ammonia. It had got her upper arms shoulder and back. She was in serious pain.

    What a horrid death for its prey.

    "Did He who made the Lamb make thee ? "
    One of His mistakes , i'd say.

    old jim
  11. Mar 2, 2017 #10

    Vanadium 50

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    Those are Tygers, I believe.
  12. Mar 2, 2017 #11


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    They rise and fall by inflating or deflating the float. I believe that the CO is produced to provide the buoyancy.
    See; http://jeb.biologists.org/content/jexbio/37/4/698.full.pdf
    The Source Of Carbon Monoxide In The Float Of The Portuguese Man-Of-War, Physalia Physalis. By Jonathan B. Wittenberg. (April 1960). Conclusion 5: "It is suggested that carbon monoxide secretion serves to inflate the float of Physalia and that carbon monoxide is later slowly replaced by air through diffusion and exchange".

    The “Portuguese man o' war” or Blue Bottle can be painful but is only very rarely fatal.
    I believe a bigger mistake than the Blue Bottle was the Box Jellyfish or "Sea Wasp" that kills many people each year.

    But only a devil could have conceived the "Irukandji jellyfish", Carukia barnesi, et al. It is the most venomous jellyfish known, is usually invisible with a medusa only 5mm across, but has fine tentacles about a metre long. Luckily there are few people swimming in Northern Australian waters.
  13. Mar 8, 2017 #12


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    Just happened across this when surfing the web for hydrodynamics.
    Those bubbles on the sand are certainly advanced technology.

    Why does it have a sail? Because it is a trawler.

    “Hydrodynamics of sailing of the Portuguese man-of-war Physalia physalis”
    By G. Iosilevskii and D. Weihs, 15 December 2008.
    See, Download the pdf from; http://rsif.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/6/36/613
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