This week’s Point Lonsdale seashell safari found another amazing critter stranded on the sand. On first glance its blue-tinged see-through look, odd shape, and rubbery feel suggested it may be a child’s toy. But a closer look and some respected reference books revealed it to be a ‘by-the-wind sailor’ Velella velella.
These small, jelly-like creatures are reported as widespread around Australia and overseas. Which is not surprising seeing as they can’t dive and have a raised sail on their upper surface to catch the wind.
Due to the angle of their sail, these adventurous sailors go wherever the wind may take them! Some are born with sails which take them to the left of the wind and others to the right. Around Britain the left-sailors are reported as much more common while right-sailors abound in the western Mediterranean. Both forms have been found separately and together around southern Australia.
Baykeeper would love to know more about ‘by-the wind sailors’. Have you ever met one?