A strange, semi-transparent blob of finger-like growths filled with white dots has baffled North Carolina wildlife experts after it was found washed up on the coast, prompting them to ask the public, “Do you know what this mysterious mass is?”
Cape Lookout National Seashore shared a photo of the unidentified blob Tuesday afternoon. It was found months ago but despite their best efforts, experts couldn’t find a definitive answer.
“It looks like a few pairs of gloves that something laid eggs in,” one commenter said.
“Invasion of the Body Snatchers?” suggested another.
Several others weighed in, saying that the gelatinous pile of tendrils looks like squid egg sacs.
Similar-looking objects — clusters of elongated segments filled with tiny eggs — have also been found at beaches on the West Coast, according to the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
A squid expert, Dr. Louis Zeidberg, explains that those particular sacs belong to a Pacific species known as the California market squid. However, “there’s also an Atlantic species, which is slightly bigger,” Zeidberg told the aquarium.
Based on appearances, an Atlantic variant of the California market squid seems like a good explanation.
But squid sacs are something Cape Lookout had already considered and wasn’t totally convinced.
“So far it has escaped being identified — although it might be something like the egg sacks of a squid (but we aren’t sure),” the post said.
If the North Carolina beach blob is indeed a cluster of squid sacs, it wouldn’t be the first time cephalopods have captured human attention, and imagination, with their unusual eggs.
Their designs are as varied as the species themselves, Live Science reported. Masses in the shape of tubes and strings and orbs shelter potentially tens of thousands of eggs from the ocean and all its threats.
Squid egg masses are rarely seen by people, the outlet reported. They are laid in deep water and sink further from there, slowly reaching depths of about 500 feet, where they stay until the offspring hatch.