Millions of purple, jellyfish-like hydrozoans are washing ashore and dying on beaches from Oregon to California. The creatures, which are not actually jellyfish but closer in relation to the Portuguese man-o-war, look a bit like little sailboats and are known commonly as “by-the-wind sailors.”
Hydrozoans live out at sea and float on the surface of the water, allowing the prevailing winds to determine their movements. Warmer pools of water off the west coast have attracted the normally tropical animals to the area and storms have driven them on shore where they then expire.
Although this type of influx of by-the-wind sailors (Velella velella) doesn’t happen every year, it’s not uncommon and is not cause for worry.
Read more here.
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