Human-sized mystery blob found off the coast of Cuba

On June 20th I received an email: a huge pink blob has been found off the coast of Cuba, and no one can figure out what it is, any ideas? Emails like this make me feel pretty much like this:

Jim-Carey_Excited

They combine my two great loves: random biology facts and digging through the internet. Roughly 247 aquarium forums, journal articles and poorly-translated Japanese websites later, I had my answer. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the biggest mass of teensy eggs that I have ever seen:

Thysanoteuthis_rhombus egg_masses

These masses can be up to 1.8 meters long (5’10”), and contain baby diamond-shaped squid (Thysanoteuthis rhombus), which hatch and proceed to peer deep into your soul with their cuteness:

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Newly hatched diamondback squid, no larger than a bread crumb, practicing being adorable. (A) They remain curled up for several days after hatching, before they grow some guts (literally?) and (B) start wiggling around with their over-sized baby squid bodies and wee tentacles [2]

Though much less heart-melting, adult squid are no less badass. Able to grow to the modest size of giant (1 meter in length and 30 kg), they troll the tropical and temperate waters of the world. Post squid-sexy-time, lady squids lay long egg masses. And thus our story unfolds: somewhere in the Atlantic a particular lady squid laid an egg mass. It bobbed through the ocean, ultimately bumping into a very alarmed group of Cubans, who in turn emailed someone who emailed some else who emailed the listserv that ultimately emailed me. The world is beautiful.

diamond_squid

creative commons, source

References:

[1] Alejandro Escánez Pérez, Rodrigo Riera Elena, Ángel Francisco González González, and Ángel Guerra Sierra. On the occurrence of egg masses of the diamond-shaped squid Thysanoteuthis rhombus Troschel, 1857 in the subtropical eastern Atlantic (Canary Islands). A potential commercial species? (2012). Zookeys. 2012; (222): 69–76.

[2] Kazutaka Miyahara, Katsuya Fukui, Taro Ota and Takashi Minami. Laboratory observations on the early life stages of the diamond squid Thysanoteuthis rhombus (2005). J. Mollus. Stud. (May 2006) 72 (2): 199-205. doi: 10.1093/mollus/eyi068

 

 

 

RR Helm (26 Posts)

I am a PhD candidate studying jellyfish development and evolution at Brown University. I've participated in numerous research expeditions, studying jellies all over the world, from Africa to the abyss. I am currently studying the beautiful mauve stinger jellies, found in the Mediterranean, and the ghostly Atlantic stinging nettles found on the US east coast.





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17 comments on “Human-sized mystery blob found off the coast of Cuba
  1. Can we agree that the way Rebecca Helm presents herself as both a woman and a woman of science is a stunning example of what the future holds?

    My heart is glad today.

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  6. I have been eworking for an NGO in the central Philippines (Cebu and Leyte) and in the past few months we have seen these egg masses 4 separate times in different locations ranging from 1m to probably 2m or more. Some were pink, some were purple. We have been wondering what they were and now we know!

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  8. Why the obnoxious video of Jim Carey doing what he does the best? Is it because he is also a blob of human sized whatever? Loved the article. Very interesting.

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  10. Pingback: The Giant Blob off the Coast of Cuba | prettyawfulthings

  11. I hate Jim Carrey, but loved the Jim Carrey gif. Also, I loved the giant squishy blob of squid bebbehs. :D

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