A fascinating creature of the sea, Velella velella, has been seen washed up on local beaches. Paul Horn recently photographed one that ended up in a tide pool.
They are a distant relative of Jellyfish, though they don’t go underwater – they feed from the surface.
They are dependent on the wind for movement, hence their common name, By-the-wind-Sailors; their upper crest acts as a sail. Sometimes the wind shifts and drives them on shore. Paul is correct that this one was lucky to land in a tide pool. They must be in water to survive. I’ve learned that if a wave comes in and returns them to the sea, they will survive being beached for a short time.
Thanks to Paul for allowing me to share his photo with you here. We have much to learn about the creatures that reside in the ocean.