What Is That Big Bubble?
When Turkish diver Lutfu Tanriover took a dip in the Mediterranean Sea
recently, everything seemed normal. That is, until a giant 'bubble'
drifted 22 feet right in front of him.
Both Tanriover and his dive buddy had never seen anything like it: A
huge, elastic gelatinous bubble measuring about four metres across,
drifting peacefully with the currents. They had no idea what it was.
With a mixture of curiosity and fear, curiosity filmed it in the hopes
of finding a clue as to what it was.
Soon after Tanriover posted his video online, Dr Michael Vecchione from
the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History suggested that the thing
could have been the egg mass of the red flying squid (Ommastrephes
bartramii). This creature grows up to 1.5 metres long and is named for
the way they 'fly' out of the water by flattening their tentacles and
fins to make them similar to wings.
Nevertheless, this would be the first time Vecchione has seen such a
huge egg mass. At that size, it was reminiscent of the 2008 incident in
which researchers observed an egg mass measuring three to four metres
across containing 600,000 to 2,000,000 eggs of the Humboldt squid in
the Sea of Cortez.
With egg masses of this size so rarely sighted, one wonders if it is
because squid eggs are normally laid at greater depths, beyond the
reach of divers. Well, in any case, the egg mass would normally exist
for a short time before the eggs hatched. In the 2008 incident, all the
eggs had hatched after three days.