A reserve in Somerset was recently discovered to have been covered in a mysterious slime-like substance that some people thought was a result of the recent meteor that crashed to earth. But upon further investigation, what some people suspected was astral jelly was in reality a type of eggless frogspawn deposited on the ground.
Scientists explained that the mystery goo was actually a substance created by the female frog and then deposited on the banks of pools and other bodies of water located throughout the reserve.
The eggless frogspawn is ejected from the female frog’s body when she becomes threatened or frightened. When the frogspawn comes into contact with moisture or water, it swells in size and looks like a green pool of slime.
RSPB spokesman Tony Whitehead said: ‘At this time of year amphibians are spawning. The spawn is held in a substance known as glycoprotein which is stored in the female’s body.
‘If the animal is attacked by a predator – herons for instance are fond of the occasional frog – it will quite naturally drop its spawn and the associated glycoprotein.
‘This is designed to swell on contact with water, which gives the gelatinous mass we are all familiar with in frog spawn.
‘However, if it’s unfertilized, it is just the empty glycoprotein that is dropped – which on contact with moist ground will swell and give a clear slime like substance’.
‘While this is our favoured explanation for this appearance of slime, it’s also worth remembering that other things can give a similar appearance.
‘Certain slime moulds can. So can the wonderfully named crystal brain fungus, but this only appears on wood. And as mentioned yesterday, certain algae, and blue-green algae can also appear as a clear slime’.
Many area photographers took photographs of the mystery pools of green-tinted slime and reported it to authorities, who burst some people’s bubble by denying the slime had anything to do with outer space.