The Bright Blue Invaders

Wednesday, September 11, 2019
By Martin Myall

LHR Velella Blue SailBeachgoers on La Herradura beach had a surprise when several specimens of what appeared to be Portuguese Man’o’War were washed up, however, they were something quite different.

The ones seen on the beach with the classic ‘sail’ were of an inoffensive kind… unless you find one suffering from Tourette Syndrome, that is. Even so, and swearing apart, its best not to suck on one.

These late summer arrivals are commonly known by the names of sea raft, by-the-wind sailor, purple sail, little sail, or simply Velella.

Wikipedia is your friends so here is a quote:

“Each apparent individual is a hydroid colony, and most are less than about 7 cm long. They are usually deep blue in colour, but their most obvious feature is a small stiff sail that catches the wind and propels them over the surface of the sea. Under certain wind conditions, they may be stranded by the thousand on beaches.

[They are] relatively benign to humans, although each person may respond differently to contact with the nematocyst toxin. It is wise to avoid touching one’s face or eyes after handling V. velella, and itching may develop on parts of the skin that have been exposed to V. velella nematocysts.”

(News: Herradura, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia)

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