The image was sent to me by a diver. It was taken at a depth of 52m in Malta (Central Mediterranean). The 'sphere' was about 1 m in diameter and was moving with the currents. It seemed to be a 'shell' of jelly with no obvious structure. All I can think of is the remains of some gelatinous planktonic organism. Any ideas?
While researching Daniel Holstein's suggestion I discovered that we do seem to do have a 'giant larvacean' in the Mediterranean, a species of Bathochordaeus but I could not find information as to where and at what depth it occurs. Photographs of discarded houses of such appendicularians I have seen are not spherical such as the structure photographed in Malta.
The most likely candidate is an ommastrephid squid egg-mass but we do not know which species produced it, however.
We are looking into similar gelatinous spheres from the Norwegian coast, and are very interested in getting in contact With the observer. Could you please give me her/ his name and e-mail adress as soon as possible?
I would just like to inform you that we have included the Malta and Italian (from Punta Campanella) gelatinous sphere in Our article "Using citizen science to obtain data on large, floating gelatinous spheres from NE Atlantic, attributed to egg mass of ommastrephid squid (Oegopsida, Cephalopoda, Mollusca)" (Ringvold & Taite, 2018). The article will be published in the journal Marine Biology Research in a short while.
We discuss the findings of 27 large spheres but we are still in need of a tissue sample from divers in order to get evidence regarding which species who made them. Any divers who comes across such large gelatinous spheres, please let us know - and please provide us With a tisse sample and/ or a photo. Cut out a small tissue sample (a 1-euro coin size is sufficient) With your diving knife, and keep it as Cold as possible - until you are able to put it in a clean plastic bag in the freezer at home. Contact us for further instructions.
We sought contributions from the widest possible spectrum, asking the authors to reflect upon the notion of ‘AnthropOcean’: theory, fiction, journal, ethological accounts, or ethnographic material from time spent at sea, testimony by those who have gained experience from the ocean, encounters with ocean inhabitants (no species preferred), etc. The...