'Alien eggs' baffle beachgoers in Sydney

By Kirstin Buick
22 September 2014

Unidentified Floating Objects? Strange visitors to Dee Why Beach have brought new meaning to the acronym, after washing up on shore this weekend.

Unidentified Floating Objects? Strange visitors to Dee Why Beach have brought new meaning to the acronym, after washing up on shore this weekend.

The hundreds of little green balls strewn across the sand look like they bounced right out of a Dr Seuss novel (ham with your green eggs, anyone?), or something out of this world completely.

Visitors to the picturesque beach on Sydney’s North Shore have described the fuzzy, bright green spheres as “alien eggs, alien hairballs, Japanese moss balls, and UFOs,” the Daily Mail reports. “I didn’t want to touch one because you never know what can sting you on the beach, but I did poke it with my toes and it’s squishy, like a sponge,” Dee Why Surf Life Saving Club patrol member Rae Maree Hutton told the local newspaper, The Manky Daily. “They look like alien eggs or something.”

People even had a bit of fun with them, another local, Roxie Rogan, said.  “People were kicking them like soccer balls. There were a lot of people looking at them.”

Scarlett de Villiers, who lives nearby, came across the weird balls on her morning stroll along the beach, she told the Mail. “'It struck me how perfectly shaped they all were and how green and alive they looked.”

“I picked one up and squeezed it and it was so squishy - but I wasn't sure if it was alive and was worried I might hurt anything inside!”

The balls probably were alive, according to Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences associate professor Alistair Poore from The University of New South Wales.

“They’re very likely to be the green alga cladophora or a close relative ... known as aegagropilious, where the alga is free living and forms into spherical balls.”

The balls would have made their way to shore thanks to the sunny Sydney spring weather and “just the right wave conditions”, The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust’s Alan Millar said.

Sources: dailymail.co.uk, newslocal.newspaperdirect.com

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