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Sun-gobbling blue blobs are taking over Southern California shorelines. What to know

When the times bought longer and the Pacific winds modified path, a large fleet set sail for the sunny coasts of Southern California.

The oncoming armada was not troopers or pirates or kingsmen. They had been blobs. Bright blue blobs.

Velella velella, or “by-the-wind sailors” as they are known as, rode the tides en masse, berthing ultimately in a gelatinous congress on the Golden State’s southern seashores.

And there they sat in droves, a lot to the curiosity of beachgoers in current weeks, information retailers reported.

“Thousands n Thousands of washed up Velella Velella Jellies,” DelanaCaliGirl wrote above a photo from Huntington Beach she posted on X on April 29.

KNSD on April 30 shared a photograph of dozens washed up alongside Dog Beach in Del Mar, a few 75-mile drive southeast from Huntington Beach. They’ve additionally been spotted in San Diego, in accordance to The Orange County Register.

Velella velella are wayfaring, surface-dwelling water creatures, fully reliant on the wind for locomotion, in accordance to the Point Reyes National Seashore, which noticed them appear in March. They seem as 3- to 4-inch-wide blue discs with an connected “sail” on prime to catch the gusts.

“Sometimes, when the wind is blowing towards the shore, large numbers of velellas get washed ashore,” Anya Stajner informed the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in May 2023.

In the spring and summer season months, when winds choose up, mass strandings of velellas occur like what we’re seeing on Southern California’s shoreline.

To these unfamiliar with them, velellas’ viscid look makes them appear like jellyfish. But they are an entire different animal, consultants say.

Velellas live in colonies and feed on plankton and the sun, photosynthesizing like vegetation, in accordance to Johns Hopkins University.

They have tentacles that sting, like jellyfish. But not like their extra painful comrades, velella stings are not thought-about dangerous to people, in accordance to Point Reyes.

Regardless, consultants advocate individuals chorus from touching them as their sting can nonetheless be painful, KNSD reported.

Sadly, mass strandings of velellas don’t finish nicely for them. After sufficient time on the sand, they dry out and begin to degrade, a course of that makes them resemble plastic discs, in accordance to the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

According to the aquarium, early within the stranding is the most effective time to go see them. In simply a short time, this blobby blue extravaganza will turn out to be miles of crispy stench.

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