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Gobs of Jellyfish on Oregon Coast, Some Ouchy - and One Globster

Published 10/18/22 at 5:24 AM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Gobs of Jellyfish on Oregon Coast, Some Ouchy - and One Globster

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(Oregon Coast) – One organization called it a “wild weekend of jellies.” Up and down the Oregon coast, a rather sizable run of interesting creatures have been washing up, creating a buzz and spectacle, while making for a few minor words of caution. (Photo above: crystal jelly, courtesy Seaside Aquarium)

Several sources along the Oregon coast report fairly large strandings, although not thick and almost-carpeted as some jellyfish runs get. The beach watchdog group CoastWatch and Cannon Beach's Haystack Rock Awareness Program (HRAP) posted sightings and ID's of creatures, making for fascinating reading.

On top of all that, there was a curious run-in with a “globster” on the central Oregon coast – the oddball term for a whale carcass so decayed it resembles some kind of cryptid.

Sea nettle, copyright Oregon Coast Beach Connection

Among the main finds were crystal jellies (Aequorea victoria), and the west coast sea nettle (Chrysaora fuscenscens), showing up in great abundance along at least the northern half of the coast for the last few days.

The water jelly – or crystal jelly – is a fairly common sight, but the numbers of them are the story. Cannon Beach, Arcadia Beach, Bayocean in Tillamook County and Moolack Beach at Newport were all places that reported them. Moon jellies were also reported at Newport, among the masses of jellyfish.

Seaside Aquarium has talked to Oregon Coast Beach Connection about these critters at length in the past.

Crystal jelly in Newport, courtesy CoastWatch / FlaningamM

“Water jellies can't move against the ocean's currents, and are thus at the mercy of local ocean conditions,” said the Aquarium’s Tiffany Boothe.

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

“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.”

It's also bioluminescent when in its natural habitat. See A Rundown of Jelly-Like Salps of Oregon, Washington Coasts

Sea nettle at Bayocean, courtesy CoastWatch / WelchHV

The sea nettle is a bit more complex in that regard, and HRAP was a tad cautionary about those.

“But be careful of Sea Nettles - identifiable by their deep red, almost rust-colored tentacles,” HRAP said on social media. “A general rule of thumb: don't touch a jellyfish with tentacles. Bright colors are another warning indicator to stay away.”

The aquarium’s manager, Keith Chandler, has talked about this in the past as well.

“They can create a little welt like the plant called the nettle,” Chandler told Oregon Coast Beach Connection a few years back. “They can even have the toxin in them when they’re dead.”

Most of the jellyfish found here are transparent and thus harmless.

Still shot from video courtesy Merica Lynn

One story that has consistently caught attention this past week was the recent sighting of what's known as a “globster” near Florence. Found earlier this week by Merica Lynn, it was a weird mystery to her and her boyfriend. Posting video on Facebook and asking what it might be, many chimed in with the paranormal-tinged word "globster."

A globster in 2007, courtesy Seaside Aquarium

Lynn, like many others who've encountered these misshapen (and hideously odorous) finds noted what they thought was white hair on the creature. For a time in history, people would discover things like this and some scientists even thought there was a new, mystery sea monster that had not been identified. Ewww, 'Globsters' of Oregon / Washington Coast and Their Paranormal Past 

Indeed, it turns out it's just an incredibly decayed whale carcass. Chunks of it have rotted away in the ocean, thus changing the shape, and the “white hair” is simply really badly decayed flesh.

Gross on the Oregon Coast should be the headline.

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A globster earlier this year in Rockaway Beach, courtesy Rachel Sip

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