Saturday, February 27, 2010

Mystery Jelly 2/26

I came upon a small bit of jelly substance in Carlisle yesterday; initial impression was amphibian egg mass, yet I could find no embryos in the mass. Still early for "Big Night" despite the heavy rains this week.

Anyone ever come across such stuff?


  1. No, never seen such stuff. Could it be immature egg mass from an amphibian, whose egg mass popped out when killed, for example, but the piercing beak of a heron?

  2. A bit of a bryozoan mass? Was it on the shore?

  3. It was found beneath a hemlock, previously site of a long-used deer rub. A small vernal pool lay many yards away. Wetlands bordered on the other side; but outside of the riparian border.

  4. We've got a cedar out front that has cedar apple rust, a fungal disease that requires two species of tree (cedar and apple) to complete its life-cycle. Most of the time, the shrivelled rust cankers are unnoticed, but after a heavy rain, they swell up and look like bright orange starfish, or "wacky wall crawlers", if you remember those.

    When I searched for "tree jelly substance" or similar, I found various discussions of other strange jellies found in the woods. Some of them are egg masses from partially-eaten frogs, but others refer to wood decay fungi.

    In any case, someone should bring some to our next gathering, to serve alongside the Autumn Olive jam.