Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches

Oregon Coast Beach Discoveries Include Rare Fish, Jellies, Uglies

Published 11/05/2015 at 4:25 AM PDT - Published 11/05/2015 at 4:45 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

(Oregon Coast) – One wintry storm surge is all it takes and many Oregon coast beaches become a treasure trove of wacky stuff. While around much of the coast, some unique and rather ugly little creatures keep mysteriously popping up, one group in the Seaside area discovered a host of interesting beasties and objects that storms had brought up onshore.

All photos here by Tiffany Boothe of Seaside Aquarium. Pictured above: a salp with a purple tip.

The big news all over the beaches seems to be the sizable occurrence of burrowing sea cucumbers just about everywhere – in huge piles in some places.

These rather unattractive critters normally sit a ways below the sand, and are actually rarely seen. Experts like Dr. Bill Hanshumaker from Newport's Hatfield Marine Science Center said he's received numerous reports in that area, and social media along the Oregon coast has been quietly exploding with pictures of large sightings all over.

Scientists are a bit puzzled by this because the burrowing sea cucumbers almost never show up in such large numbers, and it's quite rare to spot even one or two a year. Tiffany Boothe of Seaside Aquarium spotted a few back in August, but noted she'd only seen them a few times over the years.

They usually only get about 35mm in length.

Earlier this week, Seaside Aquarium happened across a lot of fascinating items – both living and not.

“The strong south, southwesterly winds brought in a lot of debris, including 11 juvenile ocean sun fish,” Boothe said.

The ocean sun fish – otherwise known as mola mola – are the extraordinary part. They are mostly found in tropical and warmer waters than these colder areas off the Oregon coast. Your chances of seeing them are a little better this time of year when the ocean coughs up a lot of stuff.

Boothe said they are unique fish that feed on jellyfish and seem to spend most of their time basking in the sun, lazily floating along the ocean's surface.

Then, gobs of salps showed up as well; these are closely related to the jellyfish. This particular group had a curious feature.

“If you look at the end of the salp you'll notice a small purple/blue teardrop shape,” Boothe said.

These are Thaliea democratica, and they are the smallest salp on the west coast. But they have astonishing growth rates where they can increase 10 to 20 percent in length in an hour. While Boothe spotted quite a few this summer, these were larger.

Another fascinating find: a giant log with gooseneck barnacles still stuck to it. Pelagic goosneck barnacles attach and live exclusively on floating debris, including boats, seaweed, and sometimes even sea turtles.

Boothe and aquarium staff noted a few bald eagles lurking on high perches above the beach, waiting for goodies to come washing in.

Sea foam was also going bonkers on this day, which often happens when the ocean gets it churned up and frothy. Lots of bull kelp was found on the beaches as well.


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

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


A famous little family eatery where the seafood practically gets shuffled from the sea straight into your mouth. Soups and salads include many seafood specialties, including cioppino, chowders, crab Louie and cheese breads. Fish 'n' chips come w/ various fish. Seafood sandwiches with shrimp, tuna or crab, as well as burgers. Dinners like pan fried oysters, fillets of salmon or halibut, saut�ed scallops.
Oregon Coast event or adventure you can't miss
Pacific City, Oregon


Breathtaking high panoramic beach views from oceanfront rooms, spacious family suites & fully equipped cottages.  Known for gracious hospitality, the sparkling clean Sea Horse features a heated indoor pool, dramatic oceanfront spa, great whale watching, free deluxe continental breakfast, conference room, free casino shuttle & HBO.  Fireplaces, private decks and spas are available in select rooms.  Close to shops, golf, fishing & restaurants.  Pets are welcome in select rooms.  Senior discounts.  Kids 18 and under stay free in their parent's room.  Very attractive rates.
Lincoln City’s only resort hotel built right on the beach with all oceanfront rooms - nestled against a rugged cliffside overlooking a soft, sandy beach. Dine in penthouse restaurant and bar, for casual meal or candlelight dinner. An array of seafood specialties, juicy steaks and other Northwest favorites, including decadent Sunday buffet. Rooms range from bedrooms to studios to 1-bedroom suites with microwaves and refrigerators to full kitchens. Also, wi-fi, spa, saunas, exercise room and year-round heated swimming pool. Kids will love the game room and easy beach access. Full-service conference/meeting rooms for that inspirational retreat; extensive wedding possibilities.


Coastal Spotlight

LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles

Weird Science of Rockaway Beach's Twin Rocks, N. Oregon Coast: Video
Yes, it's lava - originally. But it has an unusual geological distinction. Sciences
Washington Coast: Tentative Spring Razor Clam Dig Schedule Announced
Managers are looking ahead to razor clam digs on ocean beaches for dates through April
Colorful Blobs Again on Oregon Coast, Bringing Some Surprises
West winds brought in their predators and maybe Japanese glass floats. Sciences, S. Coast
Free Crabbing, Clamming, Fishing on Oregon Coast This Weekend
Free fishing, clamming or crabbing around the state, valid Saturday and Sunday, February 15 and 16. S. Coast, Weather
N. Oregon Coast Museum Talks: Bio Systems, Washington Coast History
Two of the north Oregon coast's history museums dig deep into diverse subjects: Cannon Beach, Seaside events
Great Romantic Spots, Ideas for Amore on the Oregon Coast
Some spots host the power of love a little more than others; some pack an extra punch. Travel tips, S. coast
N. Oregon Coast Fave Shut Down Indefinitely: Ecola State Park at Cannon Beach
Closed until further notice because the only road going into the area has been severely damaged
SOLVE Now Accepting Volunteers for Oregon Coast Cleanup, March 28
364 miles of coastline, with 45 locations needing people to give them a good scrub. Cannon Beach events, Manzanita events, Pacific City events, Lincoln City events, Newport events, Florence events, S. coast

Back to Oregon Coast

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



Oregon Coast Lodging


Events Calendar

Oregon Coast Weather

Travel News

Search for Oregon Coast Subjects, Articles

Virtual Tours, Maps
Deep Details