Divers in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Turkey came across an unusual sight earlier this month — a nearly invisible, gelatinous sphere. Though they didn't know what it was, they filmed and posted video of the blob.
A short time later, scientists weighed in on the rare mass.
First, take a look at the video of the mass the divers called "The Thing":
According to Deep Sea News, Dr. Michael Vecchione with the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History said the mass is likely a squid's egg sack — and it's one of the largest he's ever seen.
Here's more from Deep Sea News:
But what kind of squid, specifically, could produce a mass this big?
Dr. Vecchione best guess? A large red flying squid named Ommastrephes bartramii. These animal can grow to around 1.5 meters (~5 feet) in length. As their name suggests, red flying squid can fly, or rather glide, by jetting out of the water and flattening their tentacles and fins to make “wings”. They’ve also got arms packed with suckers complete with “teeth”.
But no one has actually seen a red flying squid lay eggs. Is the red flying squid even capable of producing an egg mass so big.
An adult Ommastrephes bartramii. (Image source: NOAA/Flickr)
Deep Sea News went on to speculate that one reason why such large egg sacs are not commonly seen could be because the species that lay them usually do so at much deeper depths. "Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review, Volume 47" published in 2009 noted at the time that there had never been a confirmed Ommastrephes bartramii egg mass found in nature, but scientists speculated that females could lay an sac with up to 300,000 eggs.
Here's a look at an adult Ommastrephes bartramii:
Another squid video is also making its rounds on the Web recently. Russian fishermen apparently filmed a giant squid trying to steal their catch. Here's the footage: