Fascinating Oregon Coast Finds: Shark and Sea Angel
Photos by Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium
(Seaside, Oregon) – Some surreal finds on the beach last week were made by crews from the Seaside Aquarium, including a shark and a wild-looking little critter called a “Sea Angel.”
Tiffany Boothe of the aquarium photographed the finds and was even able to snag one of the angels for the aquarium.
“Sea Angels are platonic sea slugs which belong to the order Gymnosomata,” Boothe said. “They are known to be highly specialized predators consuming prey three times their own size. They have a pair of wing-like paddles which are used for swimming.”
The Sea Angel is related to the gastropod, with its foot having developed into those wing-like appendages - and it has evolved to lose its shell. Its has a translucent quality, and most are gelatinous. They have tiny mouths that have suckers inside, which grab at the prey much like an octopus.
Sea Angels are found in a wide range of environments, from just off the colder waters of the Oregon coast to extreme arctic seas – as well as all the way up to more tropical climates. Those in warmer waters tend to be smaller.
Also found last week on the beach at Seaside was a 2.5-foot salmon shark that had washed ashore. It was deceased.
These are commonly found on the beaches of the Oregon coast after dying, but the timing of when it was found was of interest to Boothe.
“Though we often see salmon sharks in the summer we typically do not see them in the winter months,” Boothe said.
Salmon Sharks are one of a couple of different types of sharks that often get mistaken for Great Whites, usually by visitors to the coast who are unaware of the differences.
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