Sailor Jellyfish And Blue Button Jellyfish On The Beaches
We get a lot of interesting critters on our beaches during and after storms. With the push from Hurricane Florence we have some not so uncommon visitors. Man O Wars, sailor jellies, blue button jelly fish and some strange fish. Even snakes that came ashore at the pier in Caper Henlopen.
Sailor jellies or Velella velella, also commonly known as sea raft, by-the-wind sailor, purple sail, little sail, and blue button jellyfish. They are related to Man O Wars but can not sting people’s tough skin areas. However they do have nematocysts (stinging cells) and feed just like the man o war, after handling them wash your hands and do not touch your eyes or sensitive skin. You shouldn’t handle blue button jellyfish at all, they can cause a mild irritation to your skin. They have more of a “bite” than sailor jellyfish.
Sailor jellies and their cousins are found all over the world’s warm water oceans and use their small inflated polyp or bladder as a sail just like a Man O War. This leaves them at the mercy of the winds, which can strand them on beaches and shorelines. Sailor Jellyfish’s sails always align with the direction of the wind acting as an aerofoil causing them to sail downwind at an angle.