By-the-wind sailors

By-the-wind sailors

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Credit: ALEXIS ROSENFELD/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: By-the-wind sailors (Velella velella) on the water's surface. The by-the-wind sailor is a jellyfish-like invertebrate belonging to the Hydrozoa family. Each sailor actually consists of a colony of many hydroids attached to a translucent chitinous sail, which catches the wind. A float beneath the sail has numerous air pockets, making the colony very buoyant. There are three forms of hydroids in the colony: those that capture food, a central food-digesting polyp, and reproductive hydroids. Velella velella is found in warm and temperate seas throughout the world. Photographed in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of France.

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Keywords: animal, animals, biological, biology, buoyancy, buoyant, by-the-wind sailor, cnidarian, cnidarians, coelenterate, coelenterates, colonial, colony, drifting, floating, floats, france, french, hydroid, hydroids, hydrozoan, hydrozoans, invertebrate, invertebrates, many, mediterranean sea, multiple, nature, ocean, polyp, polyps, raft, rafts, sail, sailors, sails, surface, velella velella, water, zoological, zoology

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