Blue Button (Porpita porpita)

…a species of colonial porpitid hydrozoans which occur in tropical and sub-tropical waters of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans. Although blue buttons look similar to jellyfish they are actually a colony of numerous hydrozoan polyps. Blue buttons are typically seen drifting on the surface of the ocean where it feeds on zooplankton which drift too close. Blue button colonies consist of two main parts: the float which is a hard brown circle which keeps the colony afloat, and the colony which forms the “tentacles” of the organism, these tentacles are laced with nematocysts which are used to dispatch prey.  


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Images: Bruce Moravchik and Tanay PrabhuDesai

Blue buttons have antimicrobial properties

The so called Blue button looks like a jellyfish but it isn’t, well isn’t even a single organism, but a colony of hydroids scientifically named Porpita porpita (Anthoathecata - Porpitidae). 

Results of a study to check the antimicrobial properties of these sea organisms, published in 2010 in the Middle-East Journal of Scientific Research, indicate that extract of the central disc region of Porpita porpita exhibits activity against both bacterial (gram-positive and gram-negative) and fungal strains. The maximum antibacterial inhibition was recorded in Klebsiella pneumonia and the maximum antifungal activity against Aspergillus niger.

These yet preliminary analyses show that the Blue button, beside being beautiful, contains antimicrobial peptides, which might prove to be of high use in the pharmaceutical industry as a component of antibiotics. 

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©Bjørn Christian Tørrissen | Locality: Mozambique