Rare blue creatures washing up on Californian beaches leave locals in awe

Rare blue creatures washing up on Californian beaches leave locals in awe

...By Joseph Benjamin for TDPel Media.

Unusual little blue sea creatures, Velella velella, have washed up on a beach in California, surprising local residents.


These creatures are disc-like in shape and transparent, similar to jellyfish, and are a rare sight on shore.

They belong to the colony of hydrozoa, a type of small predatory animal that can only move when carried by the wind.

The strange creatures usually live far from the coast
The strange creatures usually live far from the coast

Velella velella are known to live far out at sea and can only move by using their protruding top part to sail on the surface of the water, which is how they earned their nickname, “by-the-wind sailors.”

They feed on zooplankton and other small sea creatures, and have a distinctive cobalt to baby-blue tone when alive, although they lose their colour and turn grey after death.

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These creatures are not dangerous to humans, but their total dependency on the wind and ocean currents means that they can only go where the elements want them to go.

A by-the-wind sailor isn't dangerous to humans
A by-the-wind sailor isn’t dangerous to humans

When on shore, they disintegrate and die, which can be catastrophic for them in big storms.


They also possess a sting and are prey to sunfish. Professor Joe Mueller, a biology expert at the College of Marin, said that in some cases, Velella velella can gather in very large numbers on the beaches.

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They are found in the northern hemisphere, and their sails are designed to monitor the North Pacific Gyre winds.

They've been washing up along the coast of California (stock)
They’ve been washing up along the coast of California (stock)

However, rogue winds can sometimes send them off course.

This occurrence is not uncommon, and it is one of many instances of such incidents being reported across the world.

In 2020, thousands of similar-looking creatures washed up on the shore in North Carolina, and in 2015, millions of Velella velella washed up on the coast of Washington state, which experts attributed to a change in ocean temperature caused by the El Nino weather system.

Although these creatures can be an attractive sight, it is best not to touch them, especially when they are still alive, as they can cause an allergic reaction or skin irritation.

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This incident is a reminder that the world’s oceans are home to many strange and wonderful creatures that are often unseen and unknown to us.

It also shows how fragile their ecosystems are and how vulnerable they can be to environmental changes.


While Velella velella are not considered endangered or threatened, their presence on the shore is a reminder that we need to take better care of our oceans and ensure their sustainability for future generations.

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