The velelles have washed up by the thousands on the sand of Sète and Frontignan

The velelles have washed up by the thousands on the sand of Sète and Frontignan

Les vélelles ont été déposées par la mer sur le sable du littoral de Frontignan (ici) et de Sète. MIDI LIBRE – PHILIPPE MALRIC

This cousin of the jellyfish, pushed by the wind and the sea, has washed up on the sand of Sète and Frontignan and now gives off an unpleasant odor.

Before the tourists disembark for the summer season on the beaches of Sète and Frontignan, another disembarkation occurred with the sea surge this weekend. Indeed, propelled by the wind and the waves, the velelles have, once again, shown their desire to come and cover the sand with their blue corpses. And since then, they have happily decomposed there, giving off a very strong smell.

Sails with the winds with his sail

The velella is a cousin of the jellyfish, although it is not stinging to humans. Each velella is a colony of small individuals gathered under the oval float which supports the sail. It floats on the surface and drifts with the wind thanks to it. carrying bluish tentacles. On these tentacles, cells armed with a harpoon inject a venom which paralyzes small prey. It feeds on fish eggs, larvae and tiny crustaceans. In spring , the velelles come to the surface by the millions. They attract plankton-eating animals.

More strandings

In recent years, strandings, like the one we have just experienced, have become more and more common, whereas they were rare in the 19th century. They could be a consequence of global warming..

Should we remove them from the sand?

The fact remains that the municipalities concerned are now faced with a serious problem. Will they send machines to the beach to remove these seaweeds and their pestilential odor? Or will they wait for these marine bodies to disappear naturally from the sand where the beach bars will soon welcome their local clientele before the tourists disembark ? Generally, since the recent strandings, this is the first solution that is applied.

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