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"Purple Sailors" Invade Hallandale Beach

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HALLANDALE BEACH (CBSMiami) - An unwelcome visitor took over parts of Hallandale Beach Thursday morning.

No, we're not talking unruly Spring Break kids.

Jellyfish, lots of them but at least there weren't the painful stinging variety.

City spokesman Peter Dobens said public works employees spent the morning cleaning up the "Velella velella" or "purple sailors" jellyfish that had washed up on shore. More are expected at the time comes in.

Velella velella live in warm and temperate waters in all the world's oceans. Usually deep blue in color, they have a small stiff sail that catches the wind and propels them over the surface of the sea, much like their infamous stinging cousin - the Portuguese man o' war.

Like the Portuguese man o' war, Velella velella catch their prey, generally plankton, by means of tentacles that hang down in the water and bear nematocysts.

While the toxins in their nematocysts are effective against their prey, they are essentially harmless to humans. Still it's wise to avoid touching one's face or eyes if you pick one up.

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