The transparent sphere floated about 72 feet (22 meters) below sea level off the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. It sparkled like a ball of glitter when the divers shone their flashlights through its surface, but Lutfu Tanriover, an underwater photographer and videographer with Derin Underwater Film, and his co-divers had no idea what it was, according to Deep Sea News.
Those glittery specks are squid eggs, and the blob is called a squid egg mass, said Michael Vecchione, director of the NOAA National Systematics Laboratory at the Smithsonian and a curator of cephalopods at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
The divers are lucky to have found one so close to shore, said Vecchione, who wasn’t part of the dive. Squids are pelagic, meaning they typically live in the open water far from the coast.
“We don’t know exactly how many eggs are in there,” but it’s likely on the order of thousands to tens of thousands, Vecchione told Live Science.
Each oblong egg is about 0.07 inches (2 millimeters) long. The female embeds them in a gelatinous matrix that grows larger as it mixes with seawater. The resulting egg mass can be enormous — the divers estimated the newfound blob measured about 13 feet (4 m) in diameter, Vecchione said.