Mystery Over 'Weird' Green Slime Solved

Mystery Over 'Weird' Green Slime Solved

A green slime that was thought to resemble a mysterious mythical jelly that appeared after meteor showers has been identified as coming from frogs.

Nature experts were left baffled by the appearance of the substance on a nature reserve in Somerset, which they were originally unable to recognise.

RSPB officials, who run the site at Ham Wall near Glastonbury, had thought it may be star or astral jelly, an unexplained 'goo' traditionally said to appear after meteors fall to earth.

Its appearance was significant after a meteorite crash landed in Russia at the weekend, shattering thousands of windows, and an asteroid had narrowly missed earth.

Now a vet has identified the jelly as a substance produced inside female frogs, which they use to lay their eggs by combining it to create frogspawn.

Devon vet Peter Green contacted the charity with a logical explanation for the slime.

RSPB reserve warden Tony Whitehead explained: "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 unfertilised, it is just the empty glycoprotein that is dropped - which on contact with moist ground will swell and give a clear slime-like substance."

The blobs of slime had been deposited at several locations at the Ham Wall Reserve, always close to pools of water.

Tony Whitehead, from the RSPB, said: "We've been delighted by the number of people that have contacted us about the mystery slime.

"Many pointed out the sighting of a strange meteor-like object over the reserve last week captured on film by a local wildlife photographer.

"However, the majority of people suggested more earthly origins.

"Some identified it as a slime mould, but by far the commonest was that its appearance was related to amphibian activity."

He said it had been perfectly reasonable to assume the slime might have been of another kind.

He added: "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."

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes