Dead sailor jellies wash ashore on West Coast

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Blue sea creatures litter the Manhattan Beach shoreline, lifeless.

Known as Velella velella, the dead sea creatures that resemble jellyfish have been washing ashore by the millions along the West Coast, including in Southern California.

"They are related to the Portuguese man o' war, which are very dangerous, but fortunately for us these types of jellyfish aren't dangerous," Los Angeles County lifeguard AJ Lester said.

Also called sailor jellies or by-the-wind jellies, the velella have a transparent fin that acts like a sail. They stay on the surface of the ocean and every few years, they are blown by the wind.

"They clump in large groups, and if s certain wind changes direction and it starts heading towards the shore, then they'll all blow ashore. It's a pretty common thing, it's just not common to see this many at one time," Lester said.

In Northern California, they've already landed on San Francisco's Ocean Beach. Lester said they've been washing ashore in Los Angeles County for the last few days.

Some beachgoers have seen the velella before and know they won't sting you like jellyfish. But it's not every year the wind blows them our way.

"It's pretty hard to walk down the beach without stepping on them. I've seen a few here and there over the past summers, but nothing like this," beachgoer Mitch Bunnell said.

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