E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Velella velella Linnaeus 1758
By-The-Wind Sailor
Family: Porpitidae

Photo of species

© Mike Edley  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #912)

E-Fauna BC Static Map
Distribution of Velella velella in British Columbia
Details about map content are available here.


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."

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Notes

Thousands of by-the-wind-sailors have been reported washed up in Tofino (see article). The Canadian Encyclopedia indicates: “After periods of prevailing onshore winds, these jellyfish may become stranded on the outer BC coast in such numbers that beaches turn violet.”

Additional Range and Status Information Links

Additional Photo Sources

Species References

Wikipedia. 2009. Velella velella page. Available online.

General References

Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2021. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2023-03-21 5:06:03 AM]
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© E-Fauna BC 2021: An initiative of the Spatial Data Lab, Department of Geography, UBC