And now for today's oceanography quiz...

Time to measure your oceanography knowledge.

The following two things were observed on a Massachusetts beach (northeast USA) in the third week in June.

First, a gelatinous mass:

What is it?

Second, a track of some kind, about 12 inches wide:

What made it?

Answers below.

As you contemplate, here’s how to measure yourself:

0 correct answers: Normal person

1 correct answer: Impressive!

2 correct answers: Jacques Cousteau


The gelatinous mass, I am pretty sure, after much Googling, is a “squid egg mop.” Here’s another picture of one. Female squids die after they make them. Male squids hang out a bit longer, then they die, too.

The track, I am quite sure, also after much Googling, was made by a horseshoe crab(s). They apparently ascend the beach around this time of year to lay eggs, which seagulls and other birds then feast on:

During the breeding season, horseshoe crabs migrate to shallow coastal waters. A male selects a female and clings to her back. The female digs a hole in the sand and lays her eggs while the male fertilizes them. The female can lay between 60,000 and 120,000 eggs in batches of a few thousand at a time. The eggs take about two weeks to hatch; shore birds eat many of them before they hatch. The larvae moult six times during the first year.

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