Velella velella, By-the-wind-sailors.

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.

By-The-Wind-Sailor, Velella velella, by Paul Horn

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.

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