This species lives on the water surface of the open ocean. It is found in warm and temperate waters around the world. In British Columbia, it can be found all along the BC coast.
Fisheries biologist Aaron Baldwin says: "Velella were formerly considered members of the Siphonophora (such as Portuguese man-of-war) which are colonial. Recent classification now places them with the Anthomedusae (athecate hydroids). Velella and relatives are solitary hydroids, more or less like upside-down sea anemones that have a float attached to their base."