Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Strange things occur at sea.


Take a close look at today's photograph - aren't the things in it the most beautiful blue colour?
The hotel we stayed in on Elba had its own private beach down to the Mediterranean. One afternoon we wandered down. It was a warm, sunny day but there was a stiffish wind blowing off the sea.
Along the shore line was a thick rim of navy blue which on close inspection was these tiny creatures. They were washed up onto the shingle and appeared to be dead. One brave soul with us decided to pick one up- it was hard and leathery and its 'innards' were clearly visible.
But what was it? The staff in the hotel said it was algae and that it appeared every year at about this time. Algae? With innards? I took a photograph.
Now I don't know whether you know Stuart Dunlop's blog - Donegal Wild Life - but I knew he was the man to ask. Yesterday I e mailed him the photograph and - as I expected - I got a full report on them almost by return. So here it is.
"They are By-the-wind Sailors - velella velella. Each individual specimen is actually a highly-organised colony rather then an individual creature, so they are not true jellyfish (which are single-cell organisms) - they are related to The Portuguese Man o'war, but not dangerous to humans".
Thank you for that Stuart. If you are interested in wildlife then I urge you to pop over and read his fascinating reports.
Have a nice day.

15 comments:

maggi said...

Fantastic. They look like shells encased in gelatine in the photo.

Robin Mac said...

What fascinating creatures, I am glad you were able to find out what they were - now you need to translate it into a textile!!! Cheers, Robin

Elisabeth said...

Gorgeous blue here, Weaver. I usually associate you with fields, not the sea.

Ahh to enjoy geography and the seasons.

Pondside said...

What a beautiful colour they are - much like the mussel shells over here.
Isn't it wonderful to have a fellow blogger, expert on such things, as a resource?

Jane Moxey said...

What amazing things! They look like Space Creatures! How great you were able to find out more about them!

Dave King said...

Fascinating and beautiful - what more can we ask of a post? Oh, yes, instructive!

willow said...

Gorgeous! Welcome back, Weaver. Sounds like you had a glorious holiday.

Crafty Green Poet said...

they're amazingly beautiful, what wonderful shimmering colour!

Kim Palmer said...

Aren't they the most fascinating little creatures! I have never seen one before but they are the most beautiful blue colour Pat! Gorgeous picture!

Cloudia said...

Very different from out Pacific jelly fish!




Tag- you're it :)



Aloha, Friend

Comfort Spiral

Derrick said...

Hello Weaver!

These look beautiful, rather like fabulous mussel shells. Glad they aren't harmful!

Lyn said...

The color and translucency are just amazing. the first thing I thought of was jellyfish..not a friend to me!

dinesh chandra said...

amaging good post.

regards

dinesh chnadra

The Weaver of Grass said...

Maggi - that is exactly what they looked like - super description, wish I had thought of it.
Robin mac - I have already thought of doing just that.
Elizabeth - yes I think they were the bluest things I have ever seen.
Pondside - one of the best things about blogging is that there is usually an expert who will fill in the details.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Jane and Dave - thanks for your comments - I didn't point out the instructive part but isn't it good that someone in blogland can do just that.
Everybody - thanks for the comments - glad you are all thrilled by the lovely colour and translucence -