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Stranded ‘sailors’

Posted: Thursday, Jul 3rd, 2014

Velella velella, a distant relative of the jellyfish, recently washed to shore by the thousands, including on Heceta Beach in Florence. Beachgoers are advised to not touch the blue- to purple-bodied creatures, which can cause allergic reactions for some people.

Oregon beachgoers are noticing a blue-and-purple hue in the sand this week after millions of jellyfish-like creatures washed up on local beaches.

Velella velella, a blue- to purple-bodied ocean-dwelling species commonly known as “by-the-wind sailor,” is being found in large quantities along the Pacific coast shoreline, including in Florence, Coos Bay and Yachats.

“There are millions of them on the beach right now,” said Trisha Wymore, central coast beach ranger for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

Velella is typically an offshore creature that lives on the ocean surface and moves by way of wind with its triangular, clear fin acting as a sail. But, when winds are strong, Velella loses its 45-degree tacking ability and is pushed to shore.

For the complete article see the 07-05-2014 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 07-05-2014 paper.

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