Friday, 17 February 2012

Mystery blobs appear at Gibside.

 Fungi, jelly mould, horticultural swell gel, frog spawn,rock snot or alien invader?

After finding some blobs of jelly near the Octagon pond today, which on examination turned out to be frog spawn. I decided to try and find out what was happening to our female frogs to cause them to loose their eggs.

I came across some pretty wonderful explanations on the web about slime blobs around the countryside. Here are a few theories.

Jelly raining from the sky, the result of dastardly Chemical agencies carrying out experiments to see what effect it had on local populations.

The wonderfully named ‘Rock snot,’ an invasive jelly which affects rivers, streams and water bodies in Canada and New Zealand.

Star Slime, which appears after meteor showers. I feel I should use the word allegedly at some point soon.

Slime or jelly moulds which appear in grasslands and wooded areas. This is a possible one also where it is found deep down in leaf litter and grass sward or on mosses. This site has some marvelous comments from people around the world.

Swell Gel, which is used in hanging baskets and planted pots to absorb water and help the plants tolerate dry conditions. This is a possible contender for such stuff appearing in pots or on patios. It is often added to bags of compost which you can buy from garden centres.

Regurgitated spawn,

Well, as you can see clearly from the pictures our slimy, jelly blobs are nothing more than frog spawn, after herons or other predators have eaten the female frog, then decided the jelly wasn’t nutritious enough or needed a bit more raspberry flavouring.

After rummaging around in the first blob I found I came across a small black mass of egg nuclei.
Some of the jelly was slightly red, suggesting blood staining and there was a bit of skin attached which was obviously from a frog. (see below) That solves our mystery, partly any way. Why would a predator such as a heron bother to regurgitate the spawn? Too filling possibly.
I have to say the ability to select exactly what you spew from your innards is a real skill.

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