The strange floating balloons

It wasn’t clear what that was. Some gelatinous balls rarely seen by divers. Where did they come from? A Citizen Science campaign and a DNA analysis show this. Since 1985 there have been a hundred sightings between Norway and the Mediterranean. The strange balloons floating in the ocean already have an explanation.

The strange balloons floating in the ocean already have an explanation.
The strange balloons floating in the ocean already have an explanation.
In Norwegian waters

A few years ago divers exploring the west coast of Norway found something. It was an object they couldn’t explain. A jelly-like ball over a meter wide. It floated halfway between the ocean floor and the surface. A dark streak cut through the center of the sphere. But the object was otherwise translucent and without features.

Other mysterious gelatinous masses have always escaped classification. Now researchers have finally identified the spots of the strange floating balloons in the sea. You are rarely seen egg sacs from a common octopus called Illex coindetii.

The study was published in Scientific Reports. He says that each drop can hold hundreds of thousands of tiny squid eggs. You are surrounded by a bubble of mucus that slowly dissolves. Squid egg sacs have never been identified in the wild.

“We saw what’s in the real sphere and showed squid embryos in four different stages.” The study’s lead author, Halldis Ringvold, told “The consistency of the sphere changes from solid and transparent to broken and opaque as the embryos develop.”

Divers help

Ringvold and his colleagues started a citizen science campaign. They encouraged divers to collect small tissue samples from stains in the waters near Norway. In 2019, divers received tissue samples from four different locations.

The samples included both the sticky body of the spots and the embryos at various stages of development. DNA analysis of the tissues confirmed that all four spots contained squid I. coindetii.

And the strange, dark streak that runs through many of the spheres? This may be due to the release of ink when the eggs are fertilized.

“Bullets with or without ink can be the result of different degrees of maturity. After a while, when the embryos begin to develop, the entire sphere, including the stripe, begins to dissolve.

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