By-the-wind Sailor

Velella velella

The By-the-wind Sailor is strange species belonging to the hydrozoans (related to sea firs, some jellyfish), that is bluish in colour and grows to about 1-5 cm long. It has an erect thin ‘sail’ running obliquely across its flat oval disc, giving its common name, which acts as both a float and sail to catch the wind. It feeds on the other minute plankton using its stinging cells, which are completely harmless to humans.

It forms part of the oceanic plankton, occurring throughout the Indo-Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, moving across the surface of the water at the mercy of the wind and often found washed up on beaches after strong winds.

By-the-wind Sailor (Velella velella)
By-the-wind Sailor (Velella velella), Wild Guide to Moreton Bay

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