Thousands of Blue Transparent Marine Creatures are Washed Ashore on California Beaches, Which Make People Curious About These Sea Animals

Nature is amazing! With millions of undiscovered creatures in the middle of the ocean, it is mesmerizing to see them washed ashore. However, not all marine creatures are meant to be touched. They may be sea animals with organisms poisonous to humans. If you see unfamiliar marine life on beaches, you should keep your distance while observing. Never pick them up on impulse.

In March, a rare marine species appeared on California beaches, particularly in Point Reyes, a cape in Northern California, USA. The beach was filled with thin, aqua-blue circular glass pieces. From afar, there seem to be lines of waves that hit the beach. The scene looked magical!

These blue seafarers are called By-the-Wind Sailors” (Velella velella). According to news websites, these jellyfish-like creatures could be seen on seashores of Marin County to as far south as San Clemente. During spring and early summer, Point Reyes National Seashore encounters these creatures stranded on their beach. While at sea, they use their translucent, triangular sails to free float around the ocean. Their directions are determined by the prevailing winds, and the sudden shift of the winds can cause them to change directions and get washed ashore. Once they reach shore, these creatures will die.


These sailors capture plankton for food with their tentacles. Although the velella-velella is not dangerous or toxic to humans, it is best not to touch them. Biologist Liz Sweet says that if you encounter the “By-the-Wind Sailors” on the beach, they can be approached, but take precautions. “Even though it only stings slightly, you never know if you might be allergic. So, my advice is just not to touch them. Don’t let your dog eat them.”


Facts about the Velella-velella:

Class: Hydrozoa
Phylum: Cnidaria
Genus: Velella; Lamarck, 1801
Scientific name: Velella velella
Family: Porpitidae
Kingdom: Animalia
Order: Anthoathecata

After a few days, the bodies of these seafarers decompose, leaving just their cellophane-like sail and floats. The wonders of nature!

Images credits: © Point Reyes National Seashore/Facebook

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About the Author: Ria P. Jacinto

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