|'By-the-wind Sailor' - dead but floating...|
|'By-the-wind Sailors' - dead and paddle boarding...!|
Velella is a monospecific genus of hydrozoa in the Porpitidae family. Its only known species is Velella velella, a cosmopolitan free-floating hydrozoan that lives on the surface of the open ocean. It is commonly known by the names sea raft, by-the-wind sailor, purple sail, little sail, or simply Velella.
Each apparent individual is a hydroid colony, and most are less than about 7 cm long. They are usually deep blue in colour, but their most obvious feature is a small stiff sail that catches the wind and propels them over the surface of the sea. However Velella sails always align along the direction of the wind where the sail may act as an aerofoil so that the animals tend to sail downwind at a small angle to the wind. Having no means of locomotion other than its sail, V. velella is at the mercy of prevailing winds for moving around the seas, and are thereby also subject to mass-strandings on beaches throughout the world.