Mass found on Cape Lookout last year may be squid eggs, marine scientists say

Marine scientists at N.C. State University Center for Marine Sciences and Technology say this unidentified mass found on Shackleford Banks Dec. 31, 2020, may be squid eggs. The National Park Service at Cape Lookout National Seashore posted the photo on Facebook this week as  a “beach mystery.” (Dr. Sue Stuska photo)

CAPE LOOKOUT — Local marine scientists say an unidentified mass found last December on the beach at Cape Lookout National Seashore could be squid eggs.

The National Park Service at Cape Lookout posted a picture Tuesday on the Cape Lookout Facebook page of the unidentified mass, asking what it could be. NPS Cape Lookout public information officer and chief of interpretation and education B.G. Horvat said NPS wildlife biologist Dr. Sue Stuska discovered the mass Dec. 31, 2020, on Shackleford Banks.

“Though infrequent in occurrence, we often find new things on the beach without knowing what they are, especially as or staff is out working in their respective duties,” Mr. Horvat said.

Dr. Stuska left the mass on the beach after discovery.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Facebook post has received 62 comments, been shared 65 times and received 166 likes/reactions. Mr. Horvat said the post is the first the NPS has publicized the discovery because staff has been busy with other park business.

“This unknown thing didn’t seem to be a pressing issue,” he said. “We weren’t expecting this to blow up in the media as it has, but (we’re) rather seeking to see if we could get a person with the right credentials to simply answer the question of ‘what is it?’”

Carteret County is home to three university-owned marine science labs, the N.C. State University Center for Marine Science and Technology, the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences and the Duke University Marine Lab. The News-Times reached out to all three for comment on the unknown mass.

As of Wednesday afternoon, CMAST Director Dr. David Eggleston said at his lab, “the consensus is that it’s a squid egg mass.”

Several commenters on Facebook also suggest the mass could be squid eggs.


Contact Mike Shutak at 252-723-7353, email; or follow on Twitter at @mikesccnt.

(4) comments

David Collins

You mean they do not know ?


David, they used 'google', and btw, they are activists/ destructionist's students there on that facility. [wink]


No way they can know until spending several hundreds of thousands of dollars for a study on something this important.



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