Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches

Rare Mola Mola, Eel Grass with Life Forms: Striking Recent Oregon Coast Finds

Published 11/03/2018 at 5:29 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection Staff

Rare Mola Mola, Eel Grass with Lifeforms: Striking Recent Oregon Coast Finds

(Seaside, Oregon) – More remarkable finds on the Oregon coast as winter conditions rev up: the folks at Seaside Aquarium snagged a few in the first two days of November. (Photos courtesy Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium).

Latest Coastal Lodging News Alerts
In Seaside:
Includes exclusive listings; Incredible specials now
In Cannon Beach:
Deals in full force now
In Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach:
Check each listing for specials
In Pacific City, Oceanside:
Fantastic Deals for Winter
In Lincoln City:
Deals on rooms everywhere
In Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach:
Specials abound
In Newport:
Specials and deals like crazy
In Waldport
New amenities offered; specials
In Yachats, Florence
Many specials; lodgings not listed anywhere else

Tiffany Boothe, education specialist with the aquarium, encountered some wild discoveries on the large and tiny scale. One of them is a bit rare: the mola mola, or sunfish. The other finds lurked deep in some sea plants.

“While perusing the beach for newly washed up kelp to feed to our sea urchins, we came across an interesting find: a juvenile Mola mola,” Boothe said. “Mola molas, more commonly referred to as ocean sunfish, are more prevalent in tropical waters. But when winds and ocean currents bring warmer water toward the Oregon coast they venture further north and can be seen feeding off of Neahkahnie Mountain.”

They are not frequently seen on these beaches – it’s a somewhat rare find. They’re usually far out beyond the shoreline, and they largely disappear after summer’s warmer waters.

Boothe said full grown mola mola get over 2,200 pounds, which makes it the heaviest bony fish in the ocean. This particular sunfish was about a foot and a half long, considered tiny. The aquarium has seen them here as big as ten feet long.

Another odd fact: females produce over 300 million eggs in their lifetime, more than any other vertebrate.

Their appearance, however, announces something not pleasant possibly waiting in the wings.

“The same currents that bring the Mola molas to Oregon can also bring sea turtles,” Boothe said. “As we enter into Oregon's sea turtle season (November through February), keep a close eye out for cold-stunned sea turtles.”

Boothe said if you do come across a sea turtle on one of the Oregon coast’s beaches, call the Seaside Aquarium at 503-738-6211.

“The quicker we can get them off the beach and into a stable environment the more likely they are able to be rehabbed and released back into the ocean,” she said.

While searching the beaches, Boothe also came across a lot of eel grass – green, sort of leafy stuff that looks like seaweed. Therein lie a bundle of nifty finds, and even a tale of rescuing tiny creatures.

“Have you ever taken a closer look?,” Boothe said. “If not, you may have missed out. This small tuft of eel grass had hundreds of tiny porcelain crabs clinging to its roots. If returned to the ocean, the tide would simply wash them back onto shore, where they would perish. We will use the eel grass for our pipefish to hide in and the crabs will be placed in a protective tank where they can grow. If all goes well, when they are large enough to be released without washing back onto the sandy beach, we will release them.”

In this case, the eel grass was tucked inside bull kelp, which are magnificent and somewhat freaky things all in themselves. When they wind up on the beaches, they resemble giant tube-like snakes or whips of some kind. But in the ocean, they grow in massive kelp forests in an upside down state. Those bulbs at the ends often bob in the water and are frequently mistaken for seals.

Seaside Aquarium also finds uses for these.

“We collect the bull kelp when it washes ashore to feed to our sea urchins, but today we collected the eel grass for our pipefish to hide in,” she said. (More photos below) Oregon Coast Lodgings for this - Where to eat - Map and Virtual Tour

Oregon Coast Lodging

 


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

Pacific City's Two Wonder-Inducing Neighbors: Where the North Oregon Coast Be...
One is a tiny town; the other a wowing beach of otherworldly sights. Neskowin, Winema
Forest Preserve on N. Oregon Coast Opens, Featuring Tallest Cedar in State
A new nature preserve at Rockaway Beach officially opens up its boardwalk on June 15
Weird and Wonderful Above Oregon Coast, Portland: Milky Way Gone, Meteors
Astronomy: Tail end of a meteor shower, Milky Way missing. Weather
Washington Coast Travel Guide
Guide to Washington Coast: updated articles, travel news, tourism updates
Steampunk-Influenced Fun in Newport: Jules Verne Meets Oregon Coast Aquarium
Where the oceanic meets steampunk: this is the new perspective on tropical marine life.
Weather Pendulum: Portland, Valley, Oregon Coast Back to Colder and Wetter Th...
Below average temps and rain return, large minus tides on the beaches
Oregon Coast's Heceta Head Lighthouse Changes and Challenges During 125-Year ...
One more celebration and some changes at the historical lighthouse. Florence events, kids
That Which is Haunting of An Oregon Coast Lighthouse: Cape Meares and Area
There are some morbid and dark histories in the area surrounding the Oceanside landmark. History, geology

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