Govt: ‘Velella Velella’ On Bermuda’s Shoreline

March 27, 2018 | 1 Comment

[Updated with video] The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is advising that large numbers of the By-the-wind sailor Velella velella have washed up on Bermuda’s shoreline in the past few days.

“This follows speculation and concern from various members of the public that these are the venomous Portuguese-Man-of-War,” the Department said.

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“V. velella is in fact not a jellyfish but, like the Portuguese-Man-Of-War, it is highly adapted to survive well in the open ocean by drifting around and catching prey with short tentacles on the ocean’s surface.”

“They are abundant now because the ocean around us is experiencing its spring bloom,” said a spokesperson for the Department. “The stormy weather of the past month has brought up nutrients from the deep water, which stimulates the growth of plankton.

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“Consequently, the V. velella benefit from having more food and begin to reproduce at a fast rate at this time of year. High winds can blow the V. Velella inshore.

“We can expect the small By-the-wind sailors to stick around for a while and we should also see the number of Portuguese Man-of-War jellyfish increase over the next month or two – all dependent on the wind and its prevailing direction.”

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“V. velella’s are relatively benign to humans, although each person may respond differently to contact with the nematocyst toxin. It is wise to avoid touching one’s face or eyes after handling V. velella, and itching may develop on parts of the skin that have been exposed to V. velella nematocysts.”

- Photos courtesy of Weldon Wade

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  1. Delaey Robinson says:

    DO NOT GO INTO THESE WATERS!
    I did to my peril. Intense pain almost to fainting in the beginning lasting for three days before tapering off. Still felt it after a week. I had no access to hot water at the time, didn’t know that solution then anyway, but it’s the one that works.

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