Identify this creature.
September 5, 2011 5:20 PM   Subscribe

What is this mystery creature?

I came across this little thing on the beach in County Kerry, Ireland. It is about 3cm at its widest point. Sorry I don't have any object in shot for scale, but the grains of sand should give you an idea of how small it is. It seemed like a tiny jellyfish...

Can anyone identify it?
posted by knapah to Pets & Animals (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
3cm is actually much too big, I think, judging by the size of the grains of sand.
posted by knapah at 5:22 PM on September 5, 2011

Looks like a "By-The-Wind-Sailor".
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:31 PM on September 5, 2011 [3 favorites]

They are indeed just tiny jellyfish. We always said they were baby man o wars and would get loads on our beach each summer.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:58 PM on September 5, 2011

Great. Thanks, I was stumped.
posted by knapah at 6:18 PM on September 5, 2011

By-The-Wind-Sailors aren't actually jellyfish, though they feed like jellies, via tentacles. The crazy thing about them is that, like Portuguese Men?-O-War, they are actually colonies of different creatures joined together to form one functioning entity. The critters that make up the tentacles are different from the critters that make up the sail, the digestive system, etc. They have no locomotion of their own, and travel via the wind in their 'sails'. They're frequently pushed onto beaches here in California. Unlike Men-O-War, they are harmless to humans.
posted by Kibby at 8:25 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

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