Public Helps Identify “Mysterious Mass” That Washed Ashore on the Outer Banks

·1 min read

A months-long Outer Banks mystery has finally been solved.

The sleuthing began Tuesday when Cape Lookout National Seashore shared a photo of a "mysterious mass" that washed up on the beach a few months ago to Facebook.

Squid Egg Mass Cape Lookout Outer Banks
Squid Egg Mass Cape Lookout Outer Banks

NPS Photo/Cape Lookout National Seashore

"Do you know what this mysterious mass is?" the national park asked alongside a photo of what appears to be a blob of finger-shaped clear sacks containing tiny white eggs. "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 comments poured in. Guesses included an old mop head, a pair of gloves, and even the beginning of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

But the most popular guess was the correct one: squid eggs.

Shortly after posing the question to the public, Cape Lookout National Seashore returned to Facebook with an update.

"It's been identified!" the revised post reads. "As many of you suspected, it is an egg mass of a squid, or actually the eggs of many squids as they lay their eggs together to create the mass."

"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," the post continues. "They all lay similar looking egg masses."

This is hardly the first time something strange has washed ashore on the Outer Banks. From prehistoric two-pound clamshells to brain-like blobs, there's never a dull moment on the beloved barrier islands.

We wonder what the next mystery will be!