Aha – so you’ve found strange blobs too? This post always receives a large amount of traffic. If you have a second, please leave a comment and let me know where you found your blobs! Much appreciated. Thank you.
In the comments, you’ll find a lot more information from around the world about the jelly balls and what they might be, so keep scrolling.
We’ve found some strange things lying on beaches – including a 4 ft hammerhead shark at Takou Bay – and yesterday’s find at Matauri Bay was up there with the best of them. Strewn across the shoreline were thousands of tiny balls of clear jelly, about the size of an M&M. A swim revealed millions more in the sea – you could feel them against your hands and feet with every stroke.
Some friendly passers-by thought they might be jellyfish eggs, which was a bit worrying when there were so many. A flick through Google produced two more candidates:
Sea Gooseberry – harmless carniverous Ctenophore
Salp – harmless planktonic tunicate which feeds on Phytoplankton and helps fight against global warming!
Interesting update from POSSUM PETE in Comments (Jan 2017):
“I think there are a few different species, bits of species and various stages of life cycles being described here. Jelly is a pretty broad description and is used by lots of marine animals, and even some seaweeds have slime filled sac-like growths.
Definitely some descriptions match the smaller, cylindrical salps which wash up in their millions.
It might also be worth taking a look at Phylum Ctenophora, the Comb jellies. They can become very numerous in coastal lagoons and sheltered areas. Some descriptions sound like it could be these.
Also, for larger jelly bits of irregular size and shape, and maybe a wash up after a storm, then my best guess would be pieces of larger jellies like Moon jellies. It isn’t the strongest of body building materials. Also there could be some scraps left after they have been predated upon.
Then you have things like eggs as well…
Happy beach combing everyone.”
Thanks Possum Pete!
(PS. If you’re interested in possums, you’ll find a slightly gory article here)
Matauri Bay is half an hour north of Kerikeri, and home to a long-established Maori community. A small hill holds the Rainbow Warrior memorial, but I’ll leave that for another day…