Odd Little Jellyfish Hitting Oregon Coast
Published 07/08/2015 at 5:04 AM PDT
(Oregon Coast) – A host of odd little jellyfish have been spotted around the Oregon coast these days. Pictured here, they were littering the beaches of Rockaway Beach last week. At first glance, in their dried up form, they look like plastic coffee cup lids. Or when folded over – as they're often seen – they look like some kind of plastic debris.
It's only when seen in their still-wet state do they resemble jellyfish.
What are they? Tiffany Boothe from Seaside Aquarium had the answer.
“They are water jellies,” Boothe said. “We've been seeing a lot of these guys.”
Indeed, Aequorea victoria – their scientific name – are all over the Oregon coast right now. For a second you may think you're looking at more of the velella velella that so inundated the beaches this spring. But these are something different.
Water jellies are found all over the western American continent – from Alaska, down through Canada, to the Oregon, Washington and California coasts. They tend to be more common farther north in British Columbia and Washington, so it's not too often that they show up here.
They have quite the interesting design, say scientists. While laying flat in the sand and spread out, you'll see the radial spokes. They can have as many as 60, and can get up to seven inches in diameter, although the ones spotted on the Oregon coast appear to max out at about five inches, with most around three inches or so.
Even more surprising is that they are bioluminescent, meaning they glow when touched or disturbed. This apparently only happens in their environment and when they are still alive, Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff did not notice any flashing at night when walked up. Staff were searching for so-called glowing sand, which is caused by another bioluminescent creature: a form of phytoplankton called dinoflagellates.
When in the water, they have a bell, which in turn has the water jelly's mouth. They eat other tiny jellyfish and soft-bodied invertebrates, and scientists believe they could cannibalistic.
Seaside Aquarium has had them in their tanks in the past (seen in the photo here).
Scientists say these kinds of jellyfish actually start off in a polyp state when young, then break off into tiny buds which grow into full-sized water jellies. They have a life span of about six months.
More About Oregon Coast hotels, lodging.....
More About Oregon Coast Restaurants, Dining.....
More Oregon Coast Below:
LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles
Back to Oregon Coast
Contact Advertise on BeachConnection.net