Cannon Beach Ghost Millipede of the Sea?
February 4, 2010
On Sunday, January 31 at about 7:30 in the morning, my friend and I were taking one last stroll along the beautiful shore on Cannon Beach. The beach goes along south until it runs into some black rocks and tide pools. I’ve seen a lot of interesting things there, but this takes the cake.
Washed up on the sand, not caught in a tidepool but instead in a very shallow seabound stream, was a pale ghost of a creature that I admit, freaked me out. I’m pretty sure it was either dead or unaccustomed to surface pressure… it seemed quite limp in either case.
It was off-white, with an almost luminescent-looking greenish tinge. You can sort of see the color in the photo. And I couldn’t discern any eyes, just that rather spectacular pointed oblong of a head. And the spinal column… not that bugs necessarily have spines, but you know… was translucent, not whitish. You can see it in the photo; the translucent part seems to surround the …brain? Brrrr. Wow. Somewhere between 4 and 6 inches of fascinating, nameless wriggle – hard to say for sure with it folded up like that and me afraid to touch it (even with a stick).
I wish I had a better photo for you; the water was washing it back out to the ocean, and my camera is old and beat up. It certainly isn’t pretty enough to make picture of the month. But with any luck, you can tell me what this bizarre encounter was. Have you ever seen anything like it?
I haven’t, save perhaps in unremembered dreams…
Nikki Burns, still a Goonie
Cannon Beach, OR
Your letter is wonderful, and this creature is a bit out of our typical request realm, though we have identified marine worms in the past. We are posting it immediately as unidentified in the hopes that one of our readers will have some clue as to its identity, and we will begin to research ourselves. Meanwhile, hold tight and we will see what we are able to uncover. We would strongly suggest that you post a comment to your own letter in the event that sometime far in the future, an identification is provided. We generally write back if we get an identification in a few days, but eventually, a querant’s email address vanishes into the black hole that our email account becomes after about a week.
Hi again Nikki,
On a lark, we just did a search for sea worm, and found the Wikipedia page on the genus Glycera, Blood Worms, and it sure looks like your critter.