dejayM's picture


Observed: 18th September 2013 By: dejayM
Biological Recording In ScotlandHighland Biological Recording GroupOrkney Biodiversity Records Centre
dejayM’s reputation in InvertebratesdejayM’s reputation in InvertebratesdejayM’s reputation in InvertebratesdejayM’s reputation in Invertebrates
man made
both tacks

Ovoid discs of transparent plastic with off centre sail. Found scattered and infrequent after a storm and westerly winds on one beach only.
Picture 3 is a microphoto and shows the concentric ridges, they look man-made.
Picture 4 shows both 'hands' one with the fin NE - SW, the other NW - SE. Each should occur on different beaches or ends of one bay, owing to the way they tack.
See Comment

Species interactions

No interactions present.


dejayM's picture

Don't laugh

Wandering the beach as you do, specially after a storm, you will always find something that appears 'different'. I found a flat piece of transparent designer plastic, about about 3cms long and rounded into an oval-shaped, flat, thin disc. It had concentric construction-rings and an angled upright appendage. You'll get my drift with picture one. I hardly dared pick it up, thinking the human-worst really; but I did and then tore it to test its structure and strength. It was not suprising, so I threw it away. Then I found another and another - from a hospital waste-bin perhaps? But something made me hang on and look for more. I took them home, though I was away from my real Home.
So don't laugh, please, I am not long into Marine invertebrates.
They are chitinous skeletons of the hydroid Valella valella- see here and I am not the first, by quite a way, to post these on iSpot, so to some people this will be pathetic comment, sorry.

Little_auk's picture

Not pathetic to me! I've

Not pathetic to me! I've never heard of or seen these and have combed many a beach. Amazing! I love the name too.

jeremyr's picture


Fascinating. Thanks for the posting


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JoC's picture

Velella velella

Good pictures - one with the stereo mic?

The extract (below) from one of your refs is interesting - in Pic 4 you have two; one sail is NW-SE and the other NE-SW. This is new info for me. thanks.
" The most striking aspect of the Velella velella is the direction of its sail, because it represents the direction the Velella is going and eventually to what shore it will arrive. The sail, which is situated on a diagonal to the long axis of the Velella's body, is found to be diagonal in the direction of the northwest to southeast on specimens cast upon northeast Pacific beaches. The other form of velella, which occur on the western side of the Pacific and in the Western Hemisphere have the sail runing from northeast to southwest."


trudy-russell's picture

this is one of my fav's from

this is one of my fav's from time to time (when the currents are right of course) we get hundreds washing up down here in Cornwall. If you are lucky you can find them soon after washing up they still have the blue/purple live body to them which is remarkable when seen in their hundreds!

Trudy Russell
Marine Advisor
Natural England

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