Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches

Bizarre Finds on Oregon Coast: Pyrosomes, Dolphin, Deformed Velella, Freaky Jellies

Published 11/18/2017 at 5:45 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Bizarre Finds on Oregon Coast: Pyrosomes, Dolphin, Deformed Velella, Freaky Jellies

(Seaside, Oregon) – It's insanely early to find them, but velella velella and pyrosomes have been spotted on the Oregon coast. Tiffany Boothe, of Seaside Aquarium, made a host of unusual finds in the last 48 hours, including velella (otherwise known as Purple Sails, Purple Sailors or by-the-wind sailors) that were strangely deformed, a dolphin, weird jellyfish called medusas and even some live oysters. (All photos courtesy Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium).

The Purple Sails and pyrosomes were all very small, indicative of how young they are at this point in the year. These were found at Seaside, Gearhart, Del Rey Beach, Fort Stevens and at Arcadia Beach, near Cannon Beach.

In Seaside, Boothe and the crew discovered two that were deformed, with part of a second sail up top instead of just one.

Fawn Custer, a Seal Rock resident who is a local scientist and the volunteer coordinator for CoastWatch, said finding velella this early in the year is rather remarkable, and the deformed ones are just plain “weird.” Mutations are a regular occurrence in nature, however.

“Happens all the time,” Custer said. “That's why we have children born with random mutations. When the DNA is forming maybe it misses some loops.”

Latest Coastal Lodging News Alerts
In Seaside:
Includes exclusive listings; some specials even in summer
In Cannon Beach:
Includes rentals not listed anywhere else
In Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach:
Check each listing for specials
In Pacific City, Oceanside:
Some Deals even in summer; great packages
In Lincoln City:
Major price drops on some dates and some lodgings
In Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach:
Specials can still be found
In Newport:
Includes exclusive listings not found anywhere
In Waldport
New amenities offered; specials
In Yachats, Florence
Some specials; lodgings not listed anywhere else

Mutations are one possibility, but just as likely is the fact velella are colonial hydrozoids and this is a facet of their early development.

“They start out as microscopic jellies, then they go through a metamorphosis to become a body part,” Custer said.

In this case, they are a type of hyrdozoa which start out as tiny jellies but then morph into larger clumps that in turn morph into body parts of the purple sail – what scientists call a colony. They become the sail or one of its other parts. The deformity could be a glitch of that part of their early life.

“It's very early to see them so maybe they're still forming colonies,” she said.

Normally, velella don't show up until spring, but Custer did find some last March, and what was happening with them at such an early development stage back then lends evidence to what's happening now.


Striped dolphin found near Astoria, photo Seaside Aquarium

“They showed up last year in March, which was very early,” Custer said. “And I scooped up a few off the beach and examined them. I found these were still in metamorphosis and that was really interesting.”

Of course, the inevitable (and often laughably conspiratorial) questions arise about radiation leaked into the Pacific from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan back in 2011. Custer and Boothe dismiss those, as no credible evidence regarding mutations – including smaller organisms – has ever been found, even in the waters off Japan. Real life is not a Godzilla movie.

Also found by Boothe and the Aquarium crew were the remnants of hatched eggs from Western Nassas (a kind of mollusk), and the really weird Red-Eyed Medusas.

“We found a dozen live bay oysters on the beach near the Peter Iredale!,” Boothe said. “Finally we made it to our stranding call: a six-foot striped dolphin had washed ashore near the South Jetty. The animal was already dead when it came ashore. We recovered the dolphin and will be transferred up to Portland State University where Dr. Debbie Duffield will do a necropsy on it to see if she can determine the cause of death.”

Numerous others along the Oregon coast are reporting finding small velella velella and pyrosomes. Oregon Coast Hotels to look for these creatures - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours More of these creatures below:

Oregon Coast Lodging


Tiny Velella and pyrosome


Above and below: a red-eyed Medusa jellyfish

More About Oregon Coast hotels, lodging.....

More About Oregon Coast Restaurants, Dining.....

 

Oregon Coast event or adventure you can't miss

 



Coastal Spotlight


LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles

King Tides and Oregon Coast Citizen Science Events at Yachats, Florence
King tides and other forms of citizen science will be the focus of two events later in January. Yachats events
Storms Deposit Oddities like Sea Cucumber, Velella onto Oregon Coast
Unique creatures have popped up, including the famed velella velella and a weird little critter that looks like a worm but isn't. Science
Warm Currents Fool and Kill Another Sea Turtle on N. Oregon Coast
The Loggerhead turtle was found at Sunset Beach with one flippter stuck in netting. Sciences
Cannon Beach Events Look at Future of Oregon Coast and Its Stormy Past A lect...
A lecture on the future of the coast and one on its past. Science. Cannon Beach events
Oregon Coast Dunes Rec Area in Trouble, Releases Video
Just south of Florence, invasive species planted long ago are slowly, literally choking the dunes to death. Sciences. South coast
Gemind Meteors Brightest of Year: Will Oregon, Washington Coast See Them?
Portland, Pendleton, Seattle and Eugene and along the beaches it will peak on December 13 and 14. Weather, science, South coast
Wacky Oregon Coast History: Nov. 12 is Happy Exploding Whale Day, New Facts
More tidbits about the incident, the clip and its future. Sciences
Major Meteor Shower Could Hit West Coast, Oregon, Washington
An enormous but short burst of activity of especially bright meteors. Sciences

Back to Oregon Coast

Contact Advertise on BeachConnection.net
All Content, unless otherwise attributed, copyright BeachConnection.net Unauthorized use or publication is not permitted

Oregon Coast Lodging
Rentals
Specials

Dining

Events Calendar

Oregon Coast Weather

Travel News

Search for Oregon Coast Subjects, Articles

Virtual Tours, Maps
Deep Details