Thousands of little blue creatures similar to jellyfish have been washing up on beaches in California. Other names for these creatures are Velella velella or By-the-Wind-Sailors.
By-the-Wind-Sailors are not jellyfish, but are closely related to jellyfish species. They fall in the Cnidaria group, which also includes jellyfish and corals.
By-the-Wind-Sailors use their translucent “sail” to utilize the wind and float through the open ocean. Strong winds in the spring and early summer months push them onto beaches.
By-the-Wind-Sailors are not poisonous, and their tentacles do not sting humans. They eat zooplankton and fish eggs using their tentacles.
By-the-Wind-Sailors pose little threat to humans but may cause slight irritation if touched. Stranded By-the-Wind-Sailors tend to disintegrate and die.
By-the-Wind-Sailors are a common sight on California’s coast. Encounters with By-the-Wind-Sailors can be an exciting experience for beachgoers.