Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches

Storms Deposit Oddities like Sea Cucumber, Velella onto Oregon Coast

Published 01/20/2020 at 3:25 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Storms Deposit Oddities like Sea Cucumber, Velella onto Oregon Coast

Latest Coastal Lodging News Alerts
In Seaside:
Includes exclusive listings; major specials when beaches reopen
In Cannon Beach:
Includes rentals not listed anywhere else
In Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach:
major specials when beaches reopen
In Pacific City, Oceanside:
major specials when beaches reopen
In Lincoln City:
major specials when beaches reopen
In Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach:
major specials when beaches reopen
In Newport:
Look for major specials when beaches reopen
In Waldport
New amenities offered; specials coming when beaches open
In Yachats, Florence
Big specials coming; lodgings not listed anywhere else

(Gearhart, Oregon) – Big storms on the Oregon coast almost always make for big finds, and this has certainly been the case since the king tides two weeks ago and some subsequent wave drama. Various kinds of damage was reported, of course, but some unique creatures have popped up, including the famed velella velella and a weird little critter that looks like a worm but isn’t. (Photos courtesy Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium).

Gearhart resident Jim Furnish spotted the oddity earlier this week and was puzzled by it. He’d never seen one before in spite of living here for decades. It’s called the burrowing sea cucumber (Leptosynapta clarki), and it’s stumped more than one longtime resident and expert on the north Oregon coast. Tiffany Boothe of Seaside Aquarium has been dealing with freaky marine life finds for about two decades now, but it wasn’t until almost 2015 that she spotted her first example of this wee puzzling beastie.

There’s a reason for that: they keep themselves hidden beneath the sands – but strangely just barely under the sands. Burrowing sea cucumbers are somewhat of a rare sight, as they stay well tucked away under the beaches, either a ways offshore or most commonly in bays and wetlands. However, they are quite common along the Oregon coast, said Boothe.

There have been some reports they were spotted down around Cannon Beach weeks ago, but so far no other reports of them on the central or south coast.

Burrowing into the mud, sand or gravel is how they make their homes, and there they feed on organic stuff surrounding them. When the ocean unearths them and brings them onshore, they resemble peanut worms and you may actually see them wiggling in such a way as they to burrow back into the sand.

Boothe said they're not like most other sea cucumbers, as they have no tube feet or respiratory tree. Instead, oxygen is exchanged through their body wall.

Part of the echinoderm family, they are related to sea stars, urchins and sand dollars. However, being related doesn’t make them a happy family: two of their biggest predators are sea stars and sun stars.

Sea cucumbers are found all over the Pacific Northwest and the west coast, from southern Canada down to Mexico. They are born in the springtime and immediately burrow into the sediment. By around August they reach their full size of about 35mm in length.

Also popping up around the coast are the velella velella, but the only solid reports of this are from the central coast between Lincoln City and Waldport. Clearly, west winds brought in tons of wacky stuff. These tiny creatures were generally found after being on the beaches for awhile, having lost their blue color and become translucent. The environmental group CoastWatch reported finding them at Roads End in Lincoln City and at the Alsea Spit in Waldport.

CoastWatch volunteers also reported a bevy of erosion and beach damage up and down the Oregon coast. On the south coast, one volunteer reported Sunset Bay had pavement that had been significantly broken up in some spots. In Newport, waves in one area crawled up the beach some 75 feet and ate at some of the sandstone, opening holes in the cliffs. More on these creatures below:

Oregon Coast Hotels for finding these - 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

More Closures, Cancellations Along Oregon Coast, Washington Coast
More features and events along the Oregon coast and Washington coast are dropping by the wayside. South coast, warning
One Gnarly Big Supermoon in April for Oregon, Washington, Coast
Oregon, Washington and their coastlines are about to get seriously mooned with an the largest supermoon of the year. South coast, astronomy, sciences
Oregon Coast Places That Don't Always Exist - Part II
Two spots around Cannon Beach and another aspect of a Yachats landmark that just isn't the same year-round
Oregon Coast Places That Don't Always Exist - Part I
Some areas or aspects of the Oregon coast may not exist and then almost rather they pop into being. Yachats, Depoe Bay, Devil's Punchbowl
Like Day and Night on Oregon Coast: Different Faces Just S. of Cannon Beach
The changes and ethereal moods that take over a place after dark are startling and stark but always mesmerizing
Comet Y4 Could Be Bright Spot for Washington, Oregon Coasts - Portland to Sea...
A comet called Y4 ATLAS could be the brightest thing in the skies in decades. Astronomy, sciences
Depoe Bay History: the Story Behind Some Oregon Coast Landmarks
The aquarium, spouting horn, famed restaurants: a trip through time. Newport, Yachats, Lincoln City
Extremely Rare Find: Pacific Snake Eel on Oregon Coast
Only a few times documented in Oregon, south coast; Washington coast last year. Seaside Aquarium

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