Wild Oregon Coast: Bald Eagles, Skate Eggs, Elk and Transforming Octopus
(Seaside, Oregon) – It's easy to say that it’s spring that causes such amazing displays of nature along the Oregon coast, but it’s actually a regular occurrence. Case in point: Seaside Aquarium passed along some stunning observations this week that included many sightings of bald eagles, elk – and an amazing display of how an octopus changes its colors (all photos courtesy Seaside Aquarium).
Early in May, Seaside Aquarium had quite the active morning, according to specialist Tiffany Boothe and manager Keith Chandler.
“While responding to a marine mammal call Keith and I counted nine bald eagles, four elk, and one hatched out egg casing between the South Jetty and Gearhart,” Boothe said.
The egg casing is from a skate, and they’re often found by local beachcombers. They’re frequently referred to as “Mermaid Purses.”
Boothe said that although its appearance resembles seaweed, it is a very tough, protective casing which can contain anywhere from two to seven embryos per casing.
“Adult female skates will drop these on the ocean floor, where the casing will drift for nine to twelve months,” Boothe said. “During that time, the embryos feed upon a yolk sack that they are attached to. When the babies are developed enough to be self-sufficient, one end of the casing will open up and the baby skates - now 3.5 inches long – will emerge.”
Then, Boothe also provided some startling images of their baby Giant Pacific Octopus in the middle of a meal.
“You can see how the octopus changes color throughout its interaction with the crab,” Boothe said. “The crab is a purple shore crab. The Giant Pacific Octopus in the photos is under a pound. An adult giant can weigh more than 70 pounds.”
In the first two shots, you see the octopus first spotting the crab, then beginning to much on it – and it begins to subtly change color already. The striking transformation happens just afterwards when it becomes a ghostly white. Downright eerie in an alien way, but certainly awe-inspiring of what nature is capable of.
The skate egg casing and octopus photos continue below.
The octopus sees the crab.
The crab begins eating the crab and starts changing color just slightly.
An alien-looking octopus changes color drastically.
Below: the skate egg casing.
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