I love Rockpooling on the rugged and spectacular Cornish beaches. I always find some fascinating and incredible marine life.
On 7 May 2023, we saw hundreds of By-the-wind Sailors in Portholland beach. They look like aliens. I managed to take a few photos before it started pouring with rain.
Velella velella, a cosmopolitan free-floating hydrozoan that lives on the surface of the open ocean. It is commonly known by the names sea raft, by-the-wind sailor, purple sail, little sail, or simply Velella.
This small cnidarian is part of a specialised ocean surface community that includes the better-known cnidarian siphonophore, the Portuguese man o' war. Specialized predatory gastropod molluscs prey on these cnidarians.
Velella can sting and capture small prey, but they also harbor algal symbionts, giving mature specimens a greenish or even brown tint.
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