Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches

The Odd Blob That Glows on Oregon / Washington Coast: You May Find It

Published 08/20//20 at 6:11 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

The Odd Blob That Glows on Oregon / Washington Coast: You May Find It

Latest Coastal Lodging News Alerts
In Seaside:
Includes exclusive listings not found anywhere else
In Cannon Beach:
Winter rates, free night offers
In Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach:
Special prices for spring, free night offers
In Pacific City, Oceanside:
How to get a free night - stormwatch deals
In Lincoln City:
Exclusive listings; spring specials
In Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach:
A lot of stunning oceanfront whale watching
In Newport:
Special offers, free nights - stormwatch, spring deals
In Waldport
Low spring rates - stormwatch deals
In Yachats, Florence
Great spring deals; find lodgings not listed anywhere else

(Seaside, Oregon) – This summer, according to Seaside Aquarium’s Tiffany Boothe, has seen a run of something weird along the Oregon coast that we don’t usually get on the beaches: a jellyfish called the Crystal jelly (Aequorea victoria). Or at least there’s been an awful lot of them washing up. (Photos Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium)

They look a lot like other jellies that wind up onshore here, such as the moon jelly. However, these are smaller.

“This summer, our beaches have been inundated with one species in particular: the crystal jelly,” Boothe said.

At first, they look like see-through coffee lids with their serrated, fanning design. Get them in water, however, and they expand into those wondrous, intricate shapes of the jellyfish.

This one is also sometimes called the watery jelly.

“Water jellies are found along the entirety of the West Coast, from Alaska to California. Like all jellyfish, they're scientifically categorized as a plankton,” Boothe said. “Water jellies can't move against the ocean's currents, and are thus at the mercy of local ocean conditions.”

They have some 100 poison-laced tentacles, she said, though the crystal jelly can’t hurt humans.

The Odd Blob That Glows on Oregon / Washington Coast: You May Find It

Photo above of the crystal jelly in water: this is simply light reflecting off it, not its glowing look. See here for the crystal jelly glowing.

“They are, however, laced with nematocysts,” she said. “Nematocysts are specialized cells that contain a barbed, sometimes venomous structure, shaped like a coiled thread. Nematocysts occur in animals scientifically grouped as coelenterates; anemones are another coelenterate which also uses nematocysts.”

At one point they were extremely abundant on the Washington coast, primarily the inland sea and bays. According to University of Washington’s Claudia E. Mills, that was from the ‘60s through the ‘80s.

“The water jelly is hunted and consumed by other larger jellyfish, such as the Brown Sea Nettle and the Lion's Mane Jelly,” Boothe said. “There are even documented cases of water jelly cannibalism. It's hard to blame the jelly, though, because with no heart, blood, or brain, it just might not know any better.”

The most extraordinary thing about this critter is that it’s bioluminescent, meaning it gives off a glow at times. Like the tiny phytoplankton called dinoflagellates that are causing glowing sand along the coastlines of Oregon and southern Washington (along with the glowing waves), these guys have a natural process that does this. (Astounding Glowing Waves (and Sand) on Oregon Coast Right Now )

What’s different about the crystal jelly, according to Mills, is that this one gives off a green bioluminescence, whereas the phytoplankton glow a neon blue in the water (blue / green sparks if you find them in the sand). The mechanism for glowing is different here, due to a flourescent molecule called GFP (green flourescent protein) in the crystal jelly.

According to Mills, up in Washington you may occasionally spot the crystal jelly in the waters of its inland seas. If you pick up and shake it, the jelly may create a small, green glowing ring. This is how its bioluminescence works in the ocean as well: it shows up as a weird, slightly dotted ring – a bit reminiscent of an eclipse.

Mills said you may even find some glowing particles left on your hand after you put the creature back.

On the Oregon coast, when you find them lying around beaches, they’re dead. They won’t glow if you wait for nightfall.

Another fascinating aspect is how they reproduce. Boothe said early in their life they band together and create what are called hydroid colonies – just gobs of them stuck together. They eventually grow bigger and wander off on their own.

Oregon Coast Hotels for this event - Where to eat - Map - Virtual Tour




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

No More Freeze: Oregon / Washington Coasts Warm Up, South Coast in 70s
Beaches remain dry most of the week in the 50s or 60s, while the southern Oregon coast will hit the 70s. Weather
Wild, Wowing Winter Drives on Oregon Coast
In many instances, remaining in your car will seem the best option: Port Orford, Depoe Bay, Manzanita, Pacific City
Ethereal Sea Butterfly of Oregon / Washington Coast: Always There But Never Seen
AThey are stunningly graceful and even angelic in the water, video included. Marine sciences
Central Oregon Coast Closes Razor Clamming; South Coast Opens Mussels
Entire coast open to mussels; clamming closed from Florence to Lincoln City
Bizarre Star Twinkle Leads to Discovery: Portland, Oregon, Washington Coast A...
An oddly flashing sight has a simple explanation, but with a twist. Weather
Haunted Lighthouses? Maybe: Oregon Coast Halloween Series
Some surprising haunted history from Florence, Newport, Port Orford, Seaside to Illwaco, Wash
Washington Coast Halts Razor Clams at Last Minute Due to Marine Toxins
All beaches in the state are closed to razor clam digging effective immediately
N. Oregon Coast Motel A Gateway to Rockaway Beach's Secrets
Close to to many of the town's remarkable finds sits Tradewinds Motel. Manzanita, Garibaldi. Lodging news, travel tips

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