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Mystery of the Tube-like Find You Might Make on Oregon Coast Right Now

Published 06/21/21 at 4:55 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Mystery of the Tube-like Find You Might Make on Oregon Coast Right Now

(Seaside, Oregon) - It's not necessarily a rare find, but it's certainly not commonplace either, and it's causing quite a few folks to scratch their heads. (All photos courtesy Seaside Aquarium)

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There have been a few scattered reports up and down the Oregon coast of odd little clusters of white tubes, or as some have described them, “worms.” Among those to point out the curious finds are the Haystack Rock Awareness Program in Cannon Beach. One of their crew found a handful in recent days.

They are egg casings – and sometimes if they're still vital you can see the teeny, tiny embryos in there. When they're in this particular shape and configuration they're squid egg casings.

Seaside Aquarium's Tiffany Boothe has dealt with them numerous times over the last decade.

“These strange gelatinous tubes are squid eggs,” she said. “Squid form large schools and lay their eggs together on the bottom of the seafloor. Each female may lay up to 12 egg capsules and each egg capsule has between 180 and 300 eggs developing inside. As the eggs develop you can actually see the baby squid moving while still in the egg. When they hatch they are about the size of a grain of rice.”

In recent years, the Seaside Aquarium has had them on occasion, hatching them in the aquarium. Some are from a creature called the Opalescent squid (Loligo opalescens), which can reach up to 11 inches in length. They are found from Mexico to northern British Columbia and come into shallow waters to spawn.

“During the spring and summer large schools of Opalescent Squid move into shallow coves and bays to mate, lay their eggs, and die,” Boothe said.

After that, the egg sacs automatically attach to each other, forming huge clusters. It then takes about five weeks for them to hatch.

Boothe said nature has a unique way of hiding these from predators: the capsules have no taste or odor.

Some of the photos of the near-hatched squid eggs at the north Oregon coast facility show the tiny creatures: you can see their dot-like black eyes. MORE PHOTOS BELOW

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