Scientific Reports | Halldis Ringvold/Sea Snack Norway

Mysterious Blobs Found Near Norway Turn Out To Be Full Of Mucus and Squid Eggs

Several years ago, large jelly-like blobs were discovered off the coast of Norway. Scientists had no idea what they were. It was not clear if the blogs were some sort of egg, but at the time, it was thought that it might be the egg of a giant squid. After all, the blobs were three feet wide.

A new study has finally solved the mystery, and it turns out that scientists were on the right track. The blobs are squid egg sacs, but not of giant squids.

It was hard to get a sample of the blob to study.

Scientific Reports | Halldis Ringvold/Sea Snack Norway

The egg sacs are very light, so whenever researchers approached one, the water movement would push the egg sac further away, making them challening to study. Researchers tried using a device that could slurp up the egg sac to get a sample of the blob.

The blobs have been spotted off and on since 1985.

Scientific Reports | Halldis Ringvold/Sea Snack Norway

There are a hundred records of blob sightings. But, because the blobs have few features and are so difficult to study, they have evaded classification. The blobs are just translucent orbs, which sometimes have a dark streak in the center. Several years ago, more of these blobs were showing up along the coastline, which renewed scientific interest.

DNA tests were able to identify the species.

Scientific Reports | Halldis Ringvold/Sea Snack Norway

DNA analysis revealed that egg sacs were of Illex coindetii. It is a species of squid that is common around the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean. But, this is the first time that their egg sacs have been identified in the wild. The blobs contain many squid eggs at different stages of development.

Researchers have now studied the development cycle of the egg sacs. "We also got to see what's inside the actual sphere, showing squid embryos at four different stages," Halldis Ringvold, who led the study, told Live Science. "In addition, we could follow how the sphere actually changes consistency — from firm and transparent to rupturing and opaque — as the embryos develop."

The mystery of the ocean blobs has been solved!

Scientific Reports | Halldis Ringvold/Sea Snack Norway

The mysterious blobs have been in the news for the past several years. But without DNA analysis, the mystery remained.

An important aspect of this research was a citizen science campaign that encouraged divers to collect samples to send to the researchers The researchers were able to finally retrieve samples to test by depending on the public to collect samples. It is due to their work that we can put this mystery to bed.

h/t: Live Science

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