The Wind Brings Delightful News to Southern California

By: Ene Ayegba | Published: Oct 31, 2023

If you have ever been to California, you likely have seen its beautiful natural surroundings. There are so many beaches and amazing sights on the shores of these areas. 

With all the surrounding bodies of water, it is not uncommon to see some aquatic animals come out to play. But one time, residents of Southern California noticed something a bit different. What they saw may amaze you.

The Unusual Shore Visitors

As the regular sea creatures came up to the shore with the tide, people began to notice that there were many Velella velellas or “by-the-wind sailors” along the California coast. The beaches that doubled as the new home for these sea creatures include Zuma Beach, Huntington Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Salt Creek Beach.


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These unique jellyfish-like creatures are blue-and-purple-like blobs with tentacles strong enough to sting but not powerful enough to hurt humans.


The Intriguing Velella Velella Appearance

The colonial hydroids, sometimes known as by-the-wind sailors, range in size from 2.75 to 4 inches (7-10 cm). These vibrantly-colored animals are either blue or purple and resemble the Portuguese Man O’War. 


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They have gas-filled floats despite a jellyfish-like appearance. The creatures depend on this float to survive, since it serves as a buoyant appendage that keeps them afloat and visible on the water’s surface.

But How Did They Get There?

These animals do not just decide to come up-shore themselves. They are part of the gifts a strong storm or wind washes up or leaves on the shore. With the numerous powerful winter storms California constantly experiences, seeing sea creatures like these does not surprise residents.


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Their fins work in a way that allows them to catch the wind and propel them to move in whichever direction the wind blows.

The Mystery of the Velella Velella

Velella Velella is a fascinating sea creature, yet many experts know little about it. Experts only know some unique adaptations that make them survive in the sea. They can drift and float in the water using little energy with their sail-like structure.


Source: The Oregonian/OregonLive/Reddit

They hunt food with their tiny tentacles, then consume it with their main mouth. This is all the knowledge there is about them among various professionals—nobody really understands their behavior, reproductive cycle, or life cycle.  

The Captivating Aura Yet Dangers Velella Velellas Pose

Many California beachgoers are intrigued to gain a closer look at these interesting creatures because of their distinctive physical characteristics. Despite their beauty, they can pose a danger and need particular attention.

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They can secrete dangerous compounds that injure the animal and the person touching them. Therefore, keeping a respectful distance and viewing these animals without interfering with their natural environment is best.