The marine organism Porpita porpita known as Blue Buttons has been spotted in large numbers at Pattipulam coastal village near Mamallapuram last Sunday. The organism’s usual homes are Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions. They are not seen in the Bay of Bengal.
Experts suggest that it could be due to climate change that the Blue Buttons have come here. Fisher folk were surprised to see the strange looking Blue Buttons. It has a central disk-like body surrounded by shiny tentacles.
Tamil Nadu has the second longest sea coast of 1,076 kilometers after Gujarat. The coastline of Tamil Nadu is also very rich in biodiversity like the Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere and Palk Strait. The sea line stretches from Pazhaverkadu in Tiruvallur district to Ezhudesam in Kanyakumari district.
Fishermen use their traditional knowledge gained over many centuries to fish along the Tamil Nadu coast. They are seeing many changes in marine life after the 2004 Tsunami.
Experts suggest that it could be due to climate change that the Blue Buttons have come here.
Sea currents and behavior of marine life are different post 2004 Tsunami. They don’t see the regular fish shoals anymore. Marine species not familiar to the coast are more common now.
The Blue Buttons were spotted after Cyclone Gaja, say fishermen. Marine Researchers say that the Blue Buttons were last observed along Chennai coast in 2019.
A marine researcher from National Institute of Ocean Technology says that this attractive marine organism has been washing ashore in the last few years. Though it looks like a jellyfish, it does not belong to that category. The colour ranges from blue to brown. The tentacles give them the look of a jellyfish.
The Blue Buttons were spotted after Cyclone Gaja, say fishermen. Marine Researchers say that these creatures were last observed along Chennai coast in 2019.
Blue Button belongs to a neustonic group that lives on the surface of water bodies. It floats on the water hunting its prey, especially small crabs and fish. The researcher warned people not to touch them.They are not poisonous but can cause allergic reactions when touched. The institute is studying the reasons why Blue Buttons are now in the Bay of Bengal.