Mysterious Blue Jellyfish-Like Creatures Invade West Coast Beaches

What is this animal?

— -- The strange blue creatures swarming West Coach beaches this summer simply go wherever the wind takes them.

Droves of Velella velella -- also known as "by-the-wind sailors" -- have been washing ashore in droves this summer along the West Coast.

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The marine animals, which float on the surface of the Pacific Ocean, have a small sail and oval shaped bodies about the size of a palm of a hand -- leaving them at the mercy of the wind and ocean currents.

Once they reach land, the blue, translucent velella die and decompose into cellophane-like corpses, according to National Geographic.

The animals have been spotted littering beaches spanning from Canada's West Coast to Southern California, according to reports.

"It's pretty hard to walk down the beach without stepping on them," beachgoer Mitch Bunnell told ABC News' Los Angeles owned station KABC. "I've seen a few here and there over the past summers, but nothing like this."

While the velella resemble jellyfish, they don't have the same sting. The animal's mouth is in the middle of the underside of its body and it only feeds on small prey it can catch near the surface, such as fish eggs and plankton.