Velella velella

Fascinating Facts

  • Despite physical similarities, these animals are hydrozoans and not technically jellyfish, though they are close relatives.
  • They are also called “by-the-wind sailors”, due to their sail-like flap that helps carry them across the ocean’s surface.
  • They have tentacles on their underside around their mouths to help them catch plankton.
  • They have a series of sealed air/gas chambers to help them stay afloat.
  • Warmer waters bring them close to shore, and strong winds sometimes blow them onto beaches by the thousands.


Feeds on small prey (fish, shrimp, plankton) that can be found close to the surface. They spend all of their lives on water until they are blown ashore where they disintegrate.

Status in the Wild

Not yet assessed by IUCN


Found in temperate and tropical oceans worldwide.

Location in the Zoo

Invertebrates Zone of the Sculpture Learning Plaza