Thousands of Beachgoers Stung in Bluebottle Jellyfish Ambush

Bluebottles have inundated Queensland beaches. Source AAPMore

The BBC reports that more than 2,600 people were treated over the weekend, while about 13,000 stings were reported over the past week.

Surf Lifesaving Queensland said a "whopping" 3,595 people were stung by the bluebottle on the beaches of the northern state.

As many as 13000 or more stings were recorded in Queensland alone last week. The aforementioned expert notes that typically, just 25,000 to 45,000 people are stung over the course of an entire year in all of Australia.

In a matter of hours on Sunday, 476 bluebottle stings were treated on the Gold Coast and 461 on the Sunshine Coast.

Nearly 1000 people were hurt in a matter of hours on Sunday afternoon, with 476 bluebottle stings treated on the Gold Coast and 461 on the Sunshine Coast.

Surf Life Saving Queensland said people stung should remove stingers, take a very hot shower and apply ice.

"Bluebottles have definitely been fairly rambunctious lately, pretty much throughout southeast Queensland, they've been coming in large numbers in a lot of places", Dr Gershwin told the public broadcaster. The beaches were forced to be shut down over the weekend to tackle the situation.

Bluebottle jellyfish colonies appear like blue-tinged sacs which measure up to 15 cm long.

"I have never seen anything like this - ever", Sturges said.

Bluebottles-a.k.a. Portuguese Man O' War (Physalia physalis), a.k.a. Indo-Pacific Man O' War (Physalia utriculus), a.k.a. not a true jellyfish-is a marine hydrozoan found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

She said "a really weird run" of strong winds and heat spells had brought bluebottle jellyfish and other species closer to shore. Unusual oceanic swell conditions have washed tens of thousands of the organisms ashore, causing injuries to thousands of people over a single weekend, according to SBS News.

Dr Gershwin said a bluebottle's crest acted like a sail and they were pushed along by strong winds.

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