Home News Millions of blue sea creatures called Velella velella arrive on California beaches

Millions of blue sea creatures called Velella velella arrive on California beaches

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Going to the beach in Northern California is a little more, let’s say, “interesting” this spring, as the sand in many places has been replaced with squishy, electric-blue carpets of jellylike sea creatures.

Sightings of the bizarre animals, known as Velella velella or “by-the-wind sailors,” run as far north as Tomales Bay and south as Monterey. “Millions dead down here in Monterey,” one person reported this weekend on Facebook. “Up and down the beach for as far as you can see in both directions.”

By-the-wind-sailors typically live and feed farther out in the Pacific. But some years around spring, the wind and likely warmer ocean waters drive them in spectacular numbers to the West Coast. They were out in force in Southern California last April, for example, and before that during the warm El Niño years of 2014 through 2016.

Hordes of tiny blue ocean creatures called Velella velella, or by-the-wind sailors, have washed up on Northern California beaches in March, 2024. Pictured: Velella velella at Tomales Bay on March 14. (Avani Fachon / Point Reyes National Seashore Association)
Hordes of tiny blue ocean creatures called Velella velella, or by-the-wind sailors, have washed up on Northern California beaches in March, 2024. Pictured: Velella velella at Tomales Bay on March 14. (Avani Fachon / Point Reyes National Seashore Association) 



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