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- (06/07/2024 12:37:06 am)
You’ve heard of an ocean sunfish, but have you heard of the hoodwinker sunfish? On June 3rd a 7.3-foot (221cm) hoodwinker sunfish washed ashore on Gearhart beach, just north of Seaside, Oregon. Initially this large, strange looking fish was creating quite a stir on social media and though it was stormy folks were flocking to the beach to see this unusual fish. It wasn’t long before news of this fish reached Mariann Nyegaard, a researcher based in New Zealand. The photographs she saw indicated that this might not be a run of the mill ocean sunfish (Mola mola) but a different species that she was very familiar with, the hoodwinker sunfish (Mola tecta). It was through her research that she discovered and described this new species of sunfish, which she published in 2017. Dubbed a new species hiding in plain sight, it was genetic sampling and eventual observation that contributed to its finding. Originally thought to only occupy the temperate waters of the southern hemisphere, that theory would be challenged as a few have recently washed ashore in California and one as far north as Alaska. This fish, hiding in plain sight, has most likely been seen/washed ashore in the Pacific Northwest before but was mistaken for the more common, Mola mola. Marianne Nyegaard reached out to the Seaside Aquarium to see if they would be willing to take samples for genetics. Staff quickly responded, took more photographs, measurements, and tissue samples. Through photographs, Marianne confirmed that it was a hoodwinker and that this may be the largest specimen ever sampled. This fish is still on Gearhart beach and will probably remain for a few more days, maybe weeks as their tough skin makes it hard for scavengers to puncture. It is a remarkable fish and the aquarium encourages people to go see it for themselves.
- (06/05/2024 08:45:20 pm)
We have had a busy week. A 33.6-foot male humpback whale washed ashore on the south end of Manzanita beach on 5.27.24. A necropsy revealed that it likely died of a boat strike. To read more visit: Research Team Completes Necropsy of Humpback Whale that Washed Ashore Near Nehalem Bay State Park; Cause of Death Likely Vessel Strike ( Treasure the Beach, our monthly beach cleanup was well attended. A big thanks to everyone who participated. With your help we were able to remove a little over 220 pounds of trash off of the beach. We also participated in the Nehalem Bay Crab Derby raising money for the Mudd Nick Foundation, a non-profit for Children in Tillamook County. Lastly, a large sunfish has washed ashore on Gearhart Beach. Stay tuned for that story, as we are looking into identifying the exact species. Chances are that it is not a Mola mola but a newly described species Mola tecta.
- (05/30/2024 11:47:06 pm)
Remember when we picked up that rope off the beach covered in mussels and brought it back to the aquarium to discover all these baby sea stars thriving in between the mussels last April (2023)? The sea stars have been growing with a little method we like to call ‘love them and leave them'. We put them in a tank with the mussels and left them to do their thing. Look how they've grown! 📸 Allysa Casteel/Seaside Aquarium
- (05/25/2024 09:11:02 pm)
How is it May 25th, 2024 already? Today marks the Seaside Aquarium's 87th anniversary. On May 25th, 1937 we opened our doors for the first time. Thank you all for your support throughout the years. Looking at the aquarium from the beach in 1937, there was a lunch bar in the south-west corner of the building (the present site of the gift shop). In 1938, apartments were added upstairs. They were called the Sea Water Apartments. The Seaside Aquarium now provided homes for both aquatic and human specimens. The Sea Water Apartments were closed in the early 1970’s. Some of the apartments are still there but are no longer used. In 1976 the building was re-sided and the Sea Water Apartment windows were removed and covered. Some of the original apartment windows are now in the Butterfield Cottage on 5th Avenue. In 1998, the aquarium acquired a 36-foot Gray whale skeleton from Fort Steven’s State Park. Wanting everyone to be able to view this giant whale, a display was built so that it was visible from the street and prom. The Seaside Aquarium is the oldest privately owned aquarium west of the Mississippi. The owners and staff of the aquarium would like to thank you for your support throughout the years. Without you, the Seaside Aquarium could not have been successful for so many generations.
- (05/25/2024 12:02:04 am)
Great low tides for Memorial Day weekend! Saturday 8:45 a.m. -1.0 Sunday 9:26 a.m. -1.0 Monday 10:10 a.m. -0.9 Let's see your tidepool photos...
- (05/23/2024 12:43:40 am)
Seaside Aquarium added an event!
- (05/22/2024 11:14:08 pm)
Deadly but beautiful, sea anemones are the flowers of the sea.
- (05/18/2024 11:39:04 pm)
A deep-sea angler fish, called a Pacific football fish (Himantoliphus sagamius) was found by local beachcombers just south of Cannon Beach, Oregon. Living in complete darkness, at 2,000 -3,300 feet, these fish are rarely seen. In fact, only 31 specimens have been recorded around the world. While a handful of football fish have been recorded in New Zealand, Japan, Russia, Hawaii, Ecuador, Chile, and California this is the first one reported on the Oregon Coast to our knowledge. Little is known about their life history but what is known is unusually fascinating. Like other angler fish, they use light that shines from a phosphorescent bulb on their forehead to attract prey. Food at the depths that these guys peruse can be very sparse, so football fish are not picky eaters. They eat anything that can fit into their mouths. Only females actively hunt as the males are actually more like parasites. Males being 10 times smaller than females, find a female to fuse themselves to. They lose their eyes and internal organs, getting all their nutrients from their female partners. In return, they provide females with a steady source of sperm. How the males find the females in the pitch dark is still unknown.
- (05/13/2024 11:43:05 pm)
Last week we monitored two unique yearlings, a Guadalupe fur seal and a Steller sea lion. While small and super cute, both animals were already weaned and off on their own adventure. The Steller sea lion was slowly moving south and we tracked him for a couple days while he went in and out of the water. He first showed up north of Delray, then moved south of 10th street in Gearhart and finally made an appearance on the north end of Seaside Beach. The adorable Guadalupe fur seal was resting near Post 2 north of Sunset Beach. He rested for about 6 hours before continuing his journey. We would like to thank everyone who reported these guys to us and to everyone who gave them the space they needed to feel comfortable to rest. As we are gearing up for the harbor seal pupping season, it is important to remember to leave all resting marine mammals alone.
- (05/11/2024 07:51:43 pm)
We were treated to the most epic light show last night. The sunset before the auroras were visible was on fire and the auroras did not disappoint.
- (05/11/2024 03:00:14 pm)
Did you know that barnacles molt? Check out his guy mid molt.
- (05/11/2024 03:00:27 am)
The bald eagles have been out in force. Driving from Gearhart to the Jetty we counted over 17! Did you know that juvenile bald eagles are brown and appear larger than adults? This leads many people to think that they are golden eagles. They appear larger than adults because their tail and wing feathers are longer than the adults and even though they appear larger, juveniles weigh less. One way to tell the difference between a golden eagle and a juvenile bald eagle is to look at their feet. Juvenile bald eagles have unfeathered, yellow ankles whereas golden eagles have feathers all the way to their feet. Bald eagles do not get their distinctive white head and tail until they are four or five years old. They have a lifespan of 30 or more years.
- (05/08/2024 10:54:04 pm)
Seaside isn't really known for its tidepools, but maybe it should be.
- (05/07/2024 10:55:15 pm)
You may have noticed these guys on the beaches lately. They are currently taking a break from their migration to feed on the plethora of mole crabs inhabiting our shores. Watch them as they probe the sand with their long thin beaks searching out their next meal. Every spring they head up to Alaska and northern Canada to nest in the low-lying wet tundra.
- (05/06/2024 11:12:05 pm)
As the wind keeps coming out of the west, new velellas continue to appear on our beaches. Did you know that the brilliant and beautiful blue pigment helps protect them from UV rays? To learn more about these creatures visit,
- (05/05/2024 06:31:19 am)
Seaside Aquarium added an event!
- (04/30/2024 12:30:22 am)
Every year we find/receive skate egg casings from big skates which have washed up on shore. Unable to simply place the egg casing back into the ocean due to the fact that they would wash back up, we place them in holding tanks in the back of the aquarium. It can take up to 11 months for the embryos inside to fully develop. Once they hatch, we start fattening them up. When they are a few months old and eating well we can release them back into the ocean. We just recently released five big skates. Here is a video of their journey.
- (04/27/2024 03:00:20 pm)
In our opinion, there is no better way to spend a Saturday than getting outdoors. Today, get out there and celebrate our avian friends on their special day! Happy GO BIRDING DAY. 📸SamHeroux/SeasideAquarium
- (04/26/2024 11:45:08 pm)
Everyone loves a Friday afternoon!
- (04/15/2024 11:45:03 pm)
Did you know that there is a killer whale season along the Oregon Coast? Well, there is and it has just begun. Reports of groups entering Tillamook Bay and Coos Bay have already come in. These whales feed primary on marine mammals. They hunt baby Gray whales as they venture north to their feeding grounds and newly born harbor seals. Your best chance of seeing these magnificent beasts is to find a headland that overlooks a vast part of the ocean or in areas that have a large population of pinnipeds (seals and sea lions). On the northern Oregon Coast, they have been known to come into Nehalem Bay and Tillamook Bay. For more up to date sightings there are a few Facebook groups you might want to be a part of, Clatsop and Pacific County Whale Sightings and Oregon Killer Whale Monitory Program. If you do happen to spot killer whales along the Oregon Coast and can get photographs of them researchers are interested in identifying and tracking them.
- (04/12/2024 11:23:04 pm)
They are back! Time to get up early and dust off your binoculars. The Haystack Rock Awareness Program (HRAP) invites you to our annual Puffin Welcome Celebration on April 13th, from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM at Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach as we celebrate the return of the tufted puffins to Haystack Rock for nesting season. This event offers a day packed with educational activities, talks, and a chance to witness the beauty of these iconic sea birds. Whether you're a seasoned birder or a curious beachgoer, there is something for everyone. Event Schedule 8:00-12:00 pm: Open House Learn more about the Haystack Rock Awareness Program, the Wildlife Center of the North Coast, and Friends of Haystack Rock. 9:00 - 9:30: Puffinology 101: Exploring the World of Tufted Puffin Join us for a 30-minute discussion on tufted puffins! (Available on Instagram/FB live) 10:00-10:30: Puffin Pursuit: Master the Art of Spotting Tufted Puffins. Learn the best tips and tricks for spotting tufted puffins. Scopes and binoculars will be provided. 10:45-11:00 Predator Game Become a tufted puffin! Learn the challenges our feather friends face through this interactive game. 11:30: Tufted Puffin Costume Contest Don your finest tufted puffin costume for a chance to win swag generously donated by Friends of Haystack Rock & Salty Raven. All participants must check-in at the main table by 10:00 AM. The winner will be announced at 11:30 AM.
- (04/11/2024 11:48:04 pm)
It that time of year again when we start to see harbor seal pups on our local beaches. Oregon and Washington typically see harbor seals born throughout spring and into late summer, while California may see pups as early as January. These young animals use time on land to regulate body temperature and rest. However, if a young pup is onshore alone the mother may not return if humans are too close. Thus, wildlife experts suggest giving seal pups plenty of space by observing them from a distance, and while they are absolutely adorable, do not touch them. Female seals birth annually after an eleven-month gestation and utilize familiar coastal shores or estuary areas with easy access to water to have their pups. New seals can immediately swim but stay close and ride on their mothers back while they mature. Seal pups often double in size from birth in 4-6 weeks on a regular diet of mother’s milk with 40% milkfat. While the extra layer of fat makes the pups adorable, the pups depend on that stored body fat to survive foraging on their own as they become more independent. Any interference from humans that could cause early separation between newborn pup and mother could be detrimental to the pup’s ability to survive. Marine mammals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Under this federal law it is illegal to move, touch, harass, feed, or kill marine mammals including seal pups. Harbor seals live on land for nearly half their lives breeding, molting, resting, and raising their offspring. Molting occurs after pups are weaned and to retain warmth and energy molting seals often stay on land for extended periods of time. Human encroachment and domestic dog interactions are challenges for the health and well-being of both young and mature seals. If you come across a seal pup, please contact the Marine Mammal Stranding Network by calling 1-866-767-6114. Local wildlife officials may post educational signs that encourage the public to keep a safe distance away from the animal while the situation is monitored by experts. Most of the time the animal is healthy and in need of a rest before it rejoins with its mother or re-enters the water. Last year the Seaside Aquarium responded to and placed signs on 21 harbor seal pups all of which successfully left the beach. The Marine Mammal Stranding Network responds to sightings of seal pups and other injured or dead marine mammals (including whales or dolphins). Responders will act as quickly as possible to assess the situation and obtain information and observations about the animal in question. For the northern Oregon and southern Washington coast the Seaside Aquarium is the local responder for the Marine Mammal Stranding Network and can be contacted at 503.738.6211. If a stranded marine mammal is found elsewhere the Marine Mammal Hotline at 1.866-767-6114 and they will contact the appropriate stranding network responder for the area.
- (04/06/2024 12:30:06 am)
Tomorrow is Treasure the Beach! Join us from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. for our monthly beach cleanup. Registration and supplies are available right outside of the Seaside Aquarium. For the past 20 years community members and organizations have gathered together for these monthly beach cleanups. We are so lucky to be a part of this community and to be keeping this event going well into the future. And yes, Heidi will be there!
- (03/29/2024 11:22:04 pm)
Friday vibes are calling for an Aquarium and chill kind of weekend. 📸AllysaCastell/SeasideAquarium
- (03/24/2024 12:28:05 am)
So, 2 decorated guys go into the tank... One’s a crab, one’s a warbonnet, and the latter is terrified because the former is just creepin on his roof. 📸Allysa/Casteel
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Seaside Aquarium, 200 North Prom, Seaside, Oregon 97138 Tel: (503) 738-6211.