KEY POINTS

  • The blob had a semi-transparent body covered in white spots 
  • National Park officials still unable to identify the mass
  • Squid experts believe it to be an egg mass of species related to California Market Squid

National parks officials in North Carolina shared online a photo of a finger-shaped jelly blob covered in white spots that washed up on a beach, asking people if anyone knew what was pictured. According to experts, the "mysterious mass" might be egg sacs from a squid.

In a  Facebook post,  the Cape Lookout National Seashore (CLNS) invited suggestions from the public to help identify the gelatinous blob. Officials said that the semi-transparent mass washed up months ago, but National Park Service experts were unable to identify it. 

“Do you know what this mysterious mass is? It was found a few months ago on the beach. 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?” the post stated.

The popular suggestion on the post was that it was some sort of alien species.” But according to squid expert Dr. Louis Zeidberg, the particular sac in question may belong to a species of Pacific Ocean squid known as the California market squid.

Zeidberg also pointed out that "there’s also an Atlantic species, which is slightly bigger and was separated from this species when Panama closed up." The California market squid females deposit their eggs on sandy habitats and build large mounds of egg cases.

One user wrote that the blob looks like an egg mass of an inshore squid belonging to the family Loliginidae. “Same family as the Calif market squid. Three species are common in NC. These look like Lolliguncula brevis but could be either Doryteuthis pealeii or D. plei.,” the user stated. 

According to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, similar-looking clusters of elongated segments filled with tiny eggs have also been found on the beaches of the West Coast.

Later, Park officials also confirmed the sac is related to the California market squid, USA Today.

A woman sits under a beach umbrella at Oura beach. Restaurant owners and others hailed the restart of tourism, but some were cautious Photo: AFP / PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA