Unusual organisms wash up in Lyall Bay

23:48, Nov 27 2013
jellies
SAILING IN: Valella valella seen on Lyall Bay beach in late November.

Lyall Bay beachgoers may have noticed a strange blue sea creature washing up on the sands this month.

NIWA identified the creature on its Facebook page as Valella valella - a species of hydrozoans belonging to the monotypic genus, of which it is the only member - after Kate Neill took these pictures of them on Lyall Bay beach.

Each organism is made up of a colony of hydroids and has carnivorous tentacles below their disc which are used to catch prey.

While they are related to the well-known and very dangerous Potuguese man o' war, the creatures are harmless to humans.

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