Below are the Jellies I’ve been lucky to find washed ashore on northern Oregon beaches (unless noted). I’ve organized my examples loosely after Lamb and Hanby (2005). I refer to WoRMS for scientific nomenclature; if I use common names, they’re my choice. The resources at the bottom of the page cover the jellies shown below and many more.
Let the jellies be upon you!
Cyanea capillata, lion’s mane jelly
Stranded lion’s manes are uncommon on the exposed beaches I visit; I can’t say I’ve encountered more than occasional fragments there. The examples below are from the quieter waters.
Phacellophora camtschatica, fried egg jelly
I come across fried egg jellies only infrequently, so finding an intact specimen is a treat. The big ones are impressive.
Chrysaora fuscescens, Pacific sea nettle
Sea nettles are one of the common large jellies found washed up on northern Oregon beaches.
Chrysaora colorata, purple-striped sea nettle
An uncommon find in the northern Oregon drift line, purple-striped sea nettles usually have a limited range around Monterey Bay, California. However, I came across two near Cannon Beach, Oregon, in the spring of 2017.
Aurelia, moon jelly
I imagine the examples below are Aurelia labiata, but jellies get around, so no promises. Along with sea nettles Chrysaora fuscescens (above), moon jellies are common large jellies frequently washed up on northern Oregon beaches. I included a video of live moon jellies at the Tennessee Aquarium in Aequorea and Other Tennessee Jellies.
Aequorea, water jelly
Aequorea, thin and transparent, are easy to overlook. The two below are only about 3″ (7.6 cm) across. I floated the one on the left in a finger bowl to get a better look.
Stranded red-eye medusas, probably Polyorchis penicillatus, can be abundant, but they aren’t easily noticeable outside the swash zone. To get a good view, float them in a finger bowl (image on the right), or be creative and float it in the bottom of an upside-down half-pint canning jar (image on the left). I featured Polyorchis (if that’s what these are) in Red-eyed medusa, Polyorchis penicillatus.
Well, I think that’s what these little medusas are. I recall seeing them only in October 2022, when they washed ashore in large numbers. The iNaturalist page for Halimedusa typus shows a few other examples.
Velella velella, by-the-wind sailor
Velella beachcast events can impact the character of a beach for days at a time. I illustrate one of these events in The Drift Line’s Getting Slippery on the Northern Oregon Coast: By-the-Wind Sailors Wash Ashore in Great Numbers. Among freshly stranded Velella, look for blue buoy barnacles.
Gotshall, D. W. 2005. Guide to Marine Invertebrates, Alaska to Baja California 2nd Edition (Revised). Shoreline Press.
Harbo, R. M. 2011. Whelks to Whales: Coastal Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest. 2nd ed. Harbour Publishing Co.
Kozloff, E. N. 1993. Seashore Life of the Northern Pacific Coast. 3rd ed. University of Washington Press.
Lamb, A. and B. P. Hanby. 2005. Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest. Harbour Publishing.
Sept. J. D. 2019. The New Beachcomber’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest. Harbour Publishing.
Biodiversity of the Central Coast’s Cnidarians and Ctenophores. Accessed March 22, 2023.
Friends of Netarts Bay WEBS’ Hydroids, Jellies, Sea Anemones and Comb Jellies. Accessed March 22, 2023.
It’s worth scrolling down to Cnidaria in Common Sea Life of Southeastern Alaska: A field guide by Aaron Baldwin & Paul Norwood. Accessed March 22, 2023.
Cowles, D. (2004). Velella velella (Linnaeus, 1758). Invertebrates of the Salish Sea. Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory. Accessed March 22, 2023.
Cowles, D. (2006 as edited). Aurelia labiata (Linnaeus, 1758). Invertebrates of the Salish Sea. Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory. Accessed March 22, 2023.
Cowles, D. (2006). Aequorea victoria (Murbach and Shearer, 1902). Invertebrates of the Salish Sea. Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory. Accessed March 22, 2023.
Cowles, D. (2006). Polyorchis penicillatus (Eschscholtz, 1829). Invertebrates of the Salish Sea. Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory. Accessed March 22, 2023.
Cowles, D. (2007). Cyanea capillata (Linnaeus, 1758). Invertebrates of the Salish Sea. Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory. Accessed March 22, 2023.
Cowles, D. (2010). Chrysaora fuscensens Brandt, 1835. Invertebrates of the Salish Sea. Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory. Accessed March 22, 2023.
Piazzola, C.D. and L. Hiebert. 2015. Polyorchis penicillatus. In: Oregon Estuarine Invertebrates: Rudys’ Illustrated Guide to Common Species, 3rd ed. T.C. Hiebert, B.A. Butler and A.L. Shanks (eds.). University of Oregon Libraries and Oregon Institute of Marine Biol- ogy, Charleston, OR.
Smith, C. R. 2002. Phacellophora camtschatica (Brant, 1835). Invertebrates of the Salish Sea. Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory. Accessed March 22, 2023.
I updated this page on March 22, 2023.