Velella velella at Long Beach
Also known as sea raft, by-the-wind sailor, purple sail, or little sail because of the sails on their backs, Velella velella are small carnivorous animals related to jellyfish that live on the surface of the water, normally hundreds of miles offshore.
They can’t swim, so their movements are dictated by wind, and they are sometimes blown ashore on the west coast of Vancouver Island during periods of sustained strong westerly winds.
Velella velella is a monospecific genus of hydrozoa in the Porpitidae family. Its only known species is Velella velella.