Fiberglass on the beach? Nope, those are sea butterflies

Small sea snails wash up in Volusia County

Sea butterflies on a Volusia County beach on Aug. 1, 2017.
Sea butterflies on a Volusia County beach on Aug. 1, 2017.

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Volusia County beachgoers were confused recently by something unusual washing up on the sandy shores.

Many thought it was fiberglass, but Volusia County Beach Safety said that's not the case.

Officials said the mini marine organisms are a pteropod called cresis acicula, more commonly known as a sea butterfly.

Currents generated by tropical storms and hurricanes bring the needle-shaped sea snails from their usual home in the warm Caribbean waters to the Sunshine State.


Sea butterflies use their tongues to propel their cylindrical silica bodies, creating a movement that resembles a flutter.

Though they float like a butterfly, they also sting like a bee. Their sharp bodies can stick into the skin like a splinter and multiple pricks can lead to small, reddish bumps.

Officials say it's not an allergic reaction because sea butterflies are non-toxic.

For more information on things to watch out for at Florida beaches, click here.

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