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'Safari' Event at Haystack Rock Takes You Deeper Into This Colorful Oregon Coast World

Published 04/09/23 at 12:02 AM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

'Safari' Event at Haystack Rock Takes You Deeper Into This Colorful Oregon Coast World

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(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – On a regular basis, especially in the warmer parts of the year, the Haystack Rock Awareness Program (HRAP) makes this north Oregon coast landmark even more interesting. The Cannon Beach-based group provides some serious depth to the famed rock. (Photo above Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

On April 21, look for yet another detailed glimpse into what goes on here with a special event dedicated to lowly but extremely colorful nudibranch. From 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., the 6th Annual Nudibranch Safari takes place. For an hour, you will discover and assist Lisa Habecker, Volunteer Coordinator and resident nudibranch lover, in an attempt to find all the species of nudibranchs commonly found in Haystack Rock's tidepools.

Photo HRAP

The Nudibranch Safari event is free and engaging for learners of all ages. If you can't make it to the Oregon coast in person, it will be live-streamed on their on Facebook and Instagram. Find them on Facebook and Instagram @Haystackrockawarenessprogram.

Nudibranchs are a curious little wonder along the Oregon coast and Washington coast, with some 3,000 species of them inhabiting the tidepools of the entire world. 200 of those hang out on these two coastlines. They come in various sizes, from 1/8 of an inch to about a foot long, with many a vibrant explosion in colors. Others do their best to hide from the world.

Loggerhead nudibranch, courtesy Seaside Aquarium

The name nudibranch, it turns out, means “naked gills,” because their gills are on the outside of their bodies. This is due to the fact they've lost their shells over time through evolution, according to Seaside Aquarium's Tiffany Boothe.

“Nudibranchs are marine snails, relatives of limpets and abalone,” Boothe said. “While most lack shells some species have a reduced or internal shell.”

Just like most animals in the world, if a creature has a bright color it serves as a warning to other predators. It says “if you chomp on me you're not gonna like it,” as these practically-glowing critters contain poison, or at least some really unpleasant tastes.

Boothe said scientists often observe fish swallow them and then spit them back out. It takes some time, but many fish learn not to lunch on “that thing” again.

For more information, visit or contact Mylasia Miklas, Haystack Rock Awareness Program Communications Coordinator, at 503-436-8079 or email

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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