The mass, which appeared to consist of tentacles, sacks, polka dots and eggs, was discovered on Cape Lookout National Seashore last year but until now has left marine experts dumbfounded, although they believed “it might be something like the egg sacks of a squid.”
In a Facebook post, the beach’s admins originally wrote: “Beach mystery -- 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?”
As you can imagine the question prompted some not very serious replies in the comment section but a correct answer was finally discovered.
According to an updated post, Cape Lookout reported that it was actually a mass of squid eggs that had likely been laid by multiple squids that were laid together to help create the mass.
They added: “These squid are an inshore squid species, which belong to the same scientific family, Loliginidae, as the California Market Squid of the Pacific Coast and a number of European squids. They all lay similar-looking egg masses.”
The beach also credited squid experts and biologists Lou Zeidberg and Michael Vecchione as the pair who helped identify the eggs.
According to Live Science, the masses can also referred to as ‘mops’ due to their unusual shape which would possibly be a more accurate description.
The eggs are believed to belong to Lolliguncula brevis, an Atlantic brief squid who call the many estuaries and inlets along North and South America’s Atlantic coast their home.