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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Beautiful little sailors

This morning, Matt let me know that some small By-the-Wind Sailors (Velella velella) had washed ashore on the beach.  We haven't seen them in a while, so I took a few photos for documentation:

When Matt said "small," he wasn't kidding!  Compare the Velella (of various sizes) with the surrounding sand grains:

Here's a picture with a ruler for a sense of scale.  The largest Velella were only about 10 mm long:

There were thousands of Velella washed up on the beach today (9 March 2017).  Here's one more picture of one of these beautiful little sailors:

P.S.  I've posted about Velella quite a bit.  If you're new to the blog and to Velella velella, the best place to start is probably the post from 5 December 2012.  Otherwise, just visit the Natural History of Bodega Head website, scroll to the very bottom of the page, and enter "velella" under "Search This Blog" to find various posts about the biology and life history of Velella.


Sandy Garber said...

There seems to be a critter in the top photo, just to right of the Velella, from the viewer's perspective. It looks like a clear, segmented tube. What is it?


Hollis said...

Hi Jackie - We noticed a subtle blue in the tide line between No Salmon Creek and Miwok shortly beyond the culvert on Tuesday - tiny tiny velella stretching along for about 10-15 feet. Much too windy to set the photo scale down but I do have a few photos of Andy holding one or two for scale if you're interested. Many were already clear so they may have been there for a while - we were lucky to pick up on the faint but distinctive shade of blue scattered throughout.