Small, Jellyfish-like Sea Creatures Crowding Onto Oregon Beaches 


Veleras on the beach

You may have never heard of it, but Berera However, if you travel to Cannon Beach or any of the beaches in Oregon in the next few days, you may be able to see this beach in person. many One of them.

Velera is also called the “wind sailor” or “purple sailor” because it has a small sail-like disc on its back that helps it move through the water. They are fairly small, about the size of a sand dollar, and live on the surface of the ocean, using a disc on the top of their bodies to catch the wind and move around. This is the only way they can actually move, as they are invertebrates and cannot propel themselves. They mainly live on plankton, and before eating plankton, they first use their tentacles to sting the plankton.

single belera
Verera, Jerry Kirkhart Flickr

These small, blue, jellyfish-like sea creatures have been swarming the Oregon coast in recent weeks, but beachgoers needn’t fear them. That’s because, unlike the jellyfish they resemble (or the more dangerous jellyfish that live in warmer waters), Berella’s venom is neither toxic nor harmful to humans. But even if you are probably Although it is safe to touch, it is best to avoid it as it may cause a slight reaction in some people. If you do touch an animal (you shouldn’t touch a dead animal in the first place), be sure to wash your hands afterwards and avoid touching your eyes and mouth. Also, although they are mostly harmless, don’t walk through them barefoot or let dogs or children run through them.

dried berella
Verera, Dan Fricker

Although it is impossible to predict exactly when velella will arrive on our shores, they typically occur in the spring and summer in Oregon. Usually, strong winds and storms are what blow Berera off course and cause it to land right here in our backyard. a million washed ashore. Once the carcasses start piling up, it’s natural for them to start emitting a foul smell after a few days, just like any other decomposing animal, but they’ll quickly dry out and bury themselves in the sand.

So far, Berella has been spotted in Newport, Cannon Beach, Nehalem, Port Orford and Seal Rock, but could appear all along the coast during the summer.

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