Know your beach-this week from the beach

Final post in the 2018 series of guest blog posts by Seattle Aquarium beach naturalists Bobby Arispe and Jen Strongin.

Message from Jen:

As we gear up for our Cedar River Salmon journey this fall, we are taking a look back at some of the highlights of our 2018 Beach Naturalist season. It was another great one that went by much too quickly!

Deaf Community Day beach walk

On our final weekend of the season, we had great amount of fun hosting our annual Deaf Community Day at Lincoln Park. We had a wonderful group of folks who braved the clouds and rain showers to be well rewarded with seeing some amazing animals. Highlights of our day were a moon snail laying eggs, beautiful chitons, a variety of crabs, a 12 tentacled anemone, tiny nudibranchs and an octopus.

Octopus in eelgrass

The last weekend of the season surprised us with a rare treat - hooded nudibranchs (Melibe leonina) at Seahurst and Saltwater beaches. These gorgeous marine slugs look like a cross between a jellyfish and a venus flytrap. They have a unique oral hood that they use to capture plankton from the water. Fun fact - they smell like watermelon candy. Really!

Hooded nudibranch


Hooded nudibranch

Here are some more favorites from the season:


I am pretty sure we all visited this same lined chiton multiple times over the summer at Constellation Beach. It was a stunner and lived on the same rock throughout the summer so we could keep visiting!

Brittle star

I loved seeing all the tiny brittle stars at Lincoln Park this summer. They are so delicate and graceful.

Seal offshore

In contrast to tiny things, we got to see large seals hanging out at Constellation Beach and enjoying the sun just like we were!

Moonglow anemone

It was hard not to stop here at every single anemone to admire it! They are all unique and beautiful. Moonglow anemones are some of my favorites because of their wild and wonderful color variations.

Feather duster worm

Marine worms were another highlight of the summer. I saw so many different, unique species on my beach shifts. Feather duster worms are still one of my favorites!

Midshipman fish

I enjoyed looking at our local marine life up close all summer long. The details in the skin and fins of a midshipman are really incredible. I loved getting to see so many of these wonderful fish this summer.

Nudibranch eggs

Sometimes looking into the Salish Sea is like looking up at the starry sky. These Opalescent Nudibranch eggs were like their own constellation! It was a treat to watch them undulating in the waves.

Fried egg jelly

The fried egg jellies showed up right on schedule in mid-July. They are always a highlight on the beach! A HUGE thank you to all of the volunteers and staff who make this program so amazing! 

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