Tiny Jellyfish Make Sizable Invasion in Some Oregon Coast Spots
(Oregon Coast) – It's like a small invasion of them on some parts of the Oregon coast.
They're tiny – about the size of a quarter – they're transparent, and they seem to be popping up here and there around the coast, but not everywhere at the same time.
They are a little jellyfish called a Sea Gooseberry, and they resemble bubbles sitting in the sand by themselves, a ways away from the tide line.
Sea Gooseberry (Pleurobrachi bachei) shows up fairly often during spring and summer on the beaches. Staff at Seaside Aquarium spotted them last week around Tillamook Bay, and this week they are in massive abundance in and around Yachats. Particularly at Neptune State Park on Thursday, there was a small invasion.
This critter belongs to the phylum Ctenophora, which are distinctive by their ‘combs,’ or groups of cilia that they use for swimming.
As small as they are, they’re actually the largest animal that swim by means of cilia. Adults can vary in size, from much smaller to around the size seen on the coast.
The Sea Gooseberry has sticky branched tentacles which it uses to snag prey, moving them around in an upward spiral motion to catch their food.
“They are considered a dominant predator feeding on copepods, larval fish, various types of eggs, and small crustaceans,” said Tiffany Boothe of the Seaside Aquarium.
She added the Sea Gooseberry is able to release up to 1,000 eggs per day. This can result in massive increases in population.
If you're looking to find one, it may not be too hard to happen upon one right now. You'll just have to be in the right place at the right time. Seaside Aquarium didn't report seeing any this week in their usual areas of patrol, like Cannon Beach, Warrenton or Seaside. But they were plentiful just south of Yachats this week. They could be lurking on beaches anywhere on the Oregon coast.
Sea Gooseberries near Yachats on Thursday.
Photos below are from Seaside Aquarium, showing the Gooseberry in its natural habitat.
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