Sea Pickles: Bizarre Sea Creatures Washing Up On West Coast Shores
You may have heard of sea cucumbers, but sea pickles?
That exactly what has been washing up on our shores lately in Southern California; some were spotted in Dana Point, and in Redondo Beach.
So what is a sea pickle exactly?
Sea pickles are pelagic ocean dwelling pyrosomes: colonial tunicates. They may look like one organism but they are actually made up of many. Imagine a tube-shaped giant apartment structure that houses tiny little animals called zooids, creating a colony. They filter through and eat tiny phytoplankton. It’s like having food delivered straight to your door as they float together through the open ocean.
These pyrosomes, or fire bodies, are bio-luminescent which means they give off light of their own so they can look like they are glowing at night. Some can grow up to more than 150 feet like the one that surprised divers off the coast of Tasmania.
Valerie Burkholder, is an aquarist at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.
She attributes the increase of these sea pickles washing up as an indicator of rising sea temperatures.
She said that sea pickles are at the mercy of the oceans currents, tend to reproduce quickly, and although they have no natural predators, they have a short life span.
As quick as they washed ashore, was as fast as they disappeared, one of the ocean’s unique mysteries.
Check out more on sea pickles as I investigated with Spectrum News 1: