Imagine going scuba diving on a beautiful day, drifting through the calm, blue waters when all of a sudden you come across an enormous, gooey ball. That’s what happened to a group of divers off the coast of Turkey recently, Rachel Pick writes for Vice Motherboard, and it turns out the baffling blob could be a clutch of squid eggs.
Pick reports that the blob was as big as a car, almost transparent, slightly sparkly and totally baffling to the divers. After noticing it, the divers swam in for a closer look, examining the blob with flashlights and gentle pokes. But after diver Lutfu Tanriover posted a video of the close encounter on the internet, a possible explanation appeared.
According to Michael Vecchione of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, the mystery blob might be the eggs of a red flying squid, a common species that can grow up to five feet long. Vecchione said this was the largest egg mass he had ever seen. The divers were very lucky to have stumbled across it, he notes: squid eggs hatch quickly and egg masses like this don’t often last for more than a few days. Red flying squid also tend to lay their eggs in deeper waters, only sometimes floating into the shallows.
The only other reported egg mass this large was laid by a humboldt squid in 2008 in the Gulf of California and was three to four meters long, containing between 600,000 and two million eggs, as reported in the Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Just think about that the next time you order calamari.