What’s This Little Sailboat Creature and Why Are Millions of Them Washing Up Along The Beach?


sea shell

Millions of translucent purple, jellyfish-like organisms have been washing up along the west coast of America, but people have been unsure as to what they are.

These pretty creatures, whose scientific name is Velella velella, aren’t really jellyfish. They are actually hydrozoans, which are related to the Portuguese man-of-war. Although they aren’t capable of stinging humans,  it is reccomended that anyone who handles them doesn’t touch their eyes or face.

Velella velella can be found in all over the world, though they typically live in tropical or subtropical waters. Most of the time they live in the open ocean, except when storm patterns and warmer waters force them ashore, where they often dry out and die on the beach.

Known as “by-the-wind sailors,” the mysterious organisms, which are made up of hundreds of various other smaller life forms, look like mini sailboats that measure about 2.75 inches long.


“They sit at the surface of the ocean and have little sails,” said Richard Brodeur, a fishery biologist at a NOAA Fisheries research station.

Recently, large numbers of them have been washing up on land.This happens every few years when they get blown onto the beaches.

Watch this video to learn more…

H/T: First To Know

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