Thursday, 7 August 2014

Why Millions of 'Sailing' Creatures Are Invading West Coast Beaches

By Tanya Lewis, Staff Writer | August 01, 2014 02:31pm ET

An invasion is afoot along beaches from Oregon to California: Millions of glassy purple, jellyfish-like sea creatures that look like sailboats have been washing ashore.

Velelle.pngKnown as "by-the-wind sailors," they typically live in the open ocean, but when warm water and storms draw them near shore, the wind blows them onto beaches, where they die in stinking piles.

These creatures, whose scientific name is Velella velella, aren't actuallyjellyfish, but hydrozoans, related to the Portuguese man-of-war. Yet unlike man-of-war, they don't sting humans, though authorities don't recommend touching your face or eyes after handling them.

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