180 miles of Oregon coast travel: Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita,
Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City,
Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Waldport, Yachats & Florence.
Kooky Creatures Keep Washing Up On Oregon
|Lancetfish's wild eye (photo Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium)
(Oregon Coast) – It's storm season, so it follows
lots of flotsam and oddities will show up on Oregon's beaches. Then, follow
a stretch of storms with a run of sunny weather and lots of beachcombers,
and you have the recipe for a load of interesting finds.
It began about a week ago with a deceased
baby whale and a dolphin
never before seen on an Oregon beach making headlines, but an adorable
baby seal and a few other critters have popped up as well.
Then this week, on the central coast, some real curiosities
landed onshore, while in Cannon Beach a freaky fish made a stir recently.
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Tiffany Boothe, with the Seaside
Aquarium, responded Wednesday to a call that an odd fish washed up
– still alive.
A resident of Cannon Beach was walking near Chapman Point
that day and came across a strange fish he hadn’t seen before –
still alive - and struggling in the surf.
Boothe said the fish isn’t rare, but rather a “cool
fish.” Called a Pacific lancetfish, they usually reside in deeper
waters but have been known to come in closer to shore.
|Pacific Lancetfish found in Cannon Beach
“It looked as if this guy had gotten attacked by
something,” Boothe said. “Though the photographs don't show
it, there is a large gash in him exposing its internal organs. These are
not particularly unusual fish, just cool. Their skin is a beautiful iridescent
color accented with a light turquoise blue.”
There was nothing they could do for the barely-alive fish,
Boothe said. Its corpse was left on the beach.
How it could’ve died is an odd thing, however. Sometimes,
these fish will accidentally bite themselves while partaking in a feeding
The lancetfish's large eyes enable them to see in deep water. These are
scaleless fish with large teeth and sail-like dorsal fins. Boothe said
they can be found worldwide and in almost all oceans, except for the polar
oceans. They range in depths from 10 to over 3,000 feet.
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“Lancetfish are mainly nocturnal,” Boothe said.
“Their large teeth allow them to feed on such pry as crab, octopi,
squid, and other fish. The Latin name, Alepisaurus ferox ,means scaleless
|Sea nettle jelly (photo Morse)
In Newport, beach expert Terry Morse walked the beaches
of the area with great attention to detail and discovered a bundle of
jellyfish and other oddities of interest. His findings took on a decidedly
academic approach – with a touch of Dr. Frankenstein in the lab.
“There was lots of driftwood washed up, and many
rocks have been exposed as the winter waves move sand from the beach to
an offshore bar,” Morse
wrote in his science blog on January 18. “I saw a few moon jellies
(Aurelia labiata), a few sea nettle jellies (Chrysaora fuscescens), and
a couple sea gooseberry comb jellies (Pleurobrachia bachei) stranded on
Morse also reported seeing the tracks of a variety of creatures
in the sand: small shorebirds, and a small and a larger beetle.
|Cluster of eggs found by Terry Morse in Newport (photo Terry Morse)
“My most interesting find was the two-centimeter-wide
(about three quarters of an inch) cluster of eggs,” Morse. “When
I collected them in a small specimen jar and added sea water, a nearly
transparent fish larva hatched out.”
Morse said two tiny black eyes could be seen at the head
of the larva.
Like a kind of coastal mad scientist, Morse has kept them
for this whole 10 days. No other eggs hatched. But the one larva did eventually
begin swimming around in its observation tank.
“It was vigorously and rhythmically moving from the
bottom to the top of the observation tank, apparently feeding at the water’s
surface,” Morse said. “Watching it swim and looking closely
at its mouthparts, it is clear that it is a crustacean, perhaps a shrimp,
not a fish. I also don’t know whether the eggs and the shrimp are
related. It is possible that the crustacean was just sheltering amongst
the eggs when the cluster was washed ashore, and came out of hiding when
I added seawater. The eggs may be from something else entirely.”
|Moonjelly found in Newport (photo Morse)
It died after a few days, but in the meantime someone did
indeed identify his little friends from the sea.
“Vicki Osis, a long-time marine educator at Hatfield
Marine Science Center, identified the eggs as being from a lingcod, Ophiodon
elongates,” Morse said. “Lingcods belong to the greenling
family (Hexagrammidae), and can grow to 5 feet long and over 100 lbs.
After spawning, males guard the eggs. They are a prized sport and commercial
They have been so exploited that limits have been put on
Morse went to examine the newborn shrimp-like creature
under a microscope, and said it appeared to be flattened “side-to-side,
which suggests that it might be an amphipod crustacean. Shrimps, crabs,
and pill bugs are examples of crustaceans. Beach fleas and whale lice
are kinds of amphipods you may have heard of or be familiar with.”
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City Vacation Homes
Something for everyone: smaller homes
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here for video of Dec. storm aftermath
Coast Best of Awards for the Year And the winners
are: best of Oregon coast restaurants, lodgings, science, odd events
in nature and stunning moments for 2007
Transformations of Oregon Coast Beaches Seasons change
and so do beaches, revealing different sides and a variety of eye-popping
Found on Oregon Beach May Be 80,000 Years Old - They
are the remnants of a forest apparently 80,000 years old, found at Hug
or Night Mysteries and Merriment on Oregon Coast It's
more than just nightlife that comes to life, but the beaches offer major
Coast Travel Site Goes Wireless Provides Lodging Reports
- Oregon Coast Beach Connection now has mobile lodging and dining listings,
along with weekly lodging availability reports
/ ADVERTISE ON BEACH CONNECTION