Mysterious mass of ‘finger-shaped clear sacks holding white eggs’ washes up on the North Carolina coast and puzzles experts
- It could be an egg sac from the Atlantic market squid
- Egg sacs from the Pacific market squid have been known to wash up on the Pacific Coast from time to time
- According to the U.S. government, the market squid population is ‘poorly understood’ and there is no reliable estimate of population
A mysterious, clear blob that has finger-like appendages and white orbs has washed up on the North Carolina coast, leaving experts completely at a loss.
The mass was posted to Cape Lookout National Seashore’s Facebook page, asking commenters if they knew what the mass was.
‘It was found a few months ago on the beach,’ the government agency wrote on Tuesday. ‘So far it has escaped being identified – although it might be something like the egg sacks of a squid (but we aren’t sure). Anyone want to take a stab at identifying it for us?’
Several commenters had a bit of fun with their responses, with one replying ‘The beginning of ANNIHILATION.’
‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers?’ another commenter wrote.
A number of commenters wrote that it could be squid eggs found in a sac.
According to the Miami Herald — citing the Oregon Coast Aquarium — a number of similar blobs have washed up on the beaches West Coast.
In an interview with the aquarium, squid expert Dr. Louis Zeidberg from California State University in Monterey Bay said the objects seen on the West Coast belong to a poorly understood species known as California market squid.
‘There’s also an Atlantic species, which is slightly bigger and was separated from this species when Panama closed up,’ Zeidberg told the aquarium.
Dr. Zeidberg also noted the cephalopod’s egg capsule is adjacent to the female’s ovaries, describing it as ‘amorphous blobs that sort of float in the open ocean.’
‘While more oceanic squid, like jumbo squid, make amorphous blobs that sort of float in the open ocean, nearshore squid such as these make a heartier capsule,’ he added.
Zeidberg continued: ‘Because they’re produced in shallow water where there’s waves and surge, they probably have this protective coating to keep them from getting smushed.
The capsules also potentially contain bacteria that mom lays that provides a sort of anti-predator, anti-microbial infection defense.’
In the Atlantic species, Zeidberg noted there are chemicals inside the capsule sheet that act as ‘sexually activating pheromones,’ allowing other squids who have not yet mated to rub their bodies against the females which in turn starts laying eggs.
DailyMail.com has reached out to Zeidberg for further comment for this story.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the market squid population is ‘poorly understood’ and there is no reliable estimate of population.
It’s believed these squid have a relatively short life span, between six and nine months, with fishermen targeting them just shortly after reproduction.
The entire population is replaced annually and is able to ‘handle a relatively high amount of fishing pressure,’ NOAA added.
The Pacific Coast variant, which can reach up to 1ft in length, are found as far south as Baja California all the way up to southeastern Alaska, with most ranging between Punta Eugenia in Baja California and Monterey Bay, California.