VERNON - It’s been likened to ‘Ogopogo eggs’ and ‘my wife’s cooking’ but whatever it is, Deb Marshall says “it’s really quite gross.”
The North Okanagan woman found the strange, gelatinous blob yesterday, Aug. 21, at the north end of Okanagan Lake.
“We were hanging around at the beach and one of the kids said ‘hey Deb, have you ever seen anything like this?’ Sure enough, no, I had not,” she says.
The translucent mass looked kind of like a flattened egg, and did not appear alive, she says. Her first thought?
“WTF is this,” Marshall says with a laugh.
She left it at the beach but posted photos of it on the Facebook group Okanagan Valley Fishing, hoping for an answer as to what it was.
Among the guesses: a jelly fish, Ogopogo eggs, the wife’s cooking (or ex-wife’s as another commenter pointed out) or a fake boob.
As it turns out, the blob is probably a freshwater Byrozoan, described online as a "family of small filter feeding invertebrates that live as colonies in aquatic habitats."
“I was contacted by a UBC professor who said it was Pectinatella Gigantica,” Marshall says. “When he first contacted me, I thought, yeah right, who are you…. Oh, he’s an expert.”
A Pectinatella magnifica colony (which appears to be similar to Pectinatella Gigantica) lives on the surface of a gelatinous mass. It’s likely that all the organisms fell off the specimen Marshall found, which is why it is so clear.
Another one was found in 2016 on the shores of Duck Lake.
Marshall still thinks it’s gross, but admits it’s pretty cool.
“It’s amazing how much you don’t see or know about,” Marshall says of the Okanagan Lake ecosystem.
— This story was updated at 10 a.m. Aug. 24, 2017 to add more information and a link.
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