At a fountain inside the UNCC campus in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) – I found a floating jelly in the water. It was a big surprise to see for a simple reason – I have never seen an egg sack that feels like jelly that does not belong to a marine invertebrate. But here I was in a land locked city – how can a marine invertebrate deposit eggs in a fountain!
So I picked it up; and it was time to examine it under a foldscope.
The above is a 1/2hr time lapse with foldscope mounted on my iPhone. For time lapse, I use a software called lapseit.
I did a little more digging online, and found that caddiesfly lay eggs in a jelly like structure! So could this be eggs from a caddiesfly. So far that is the only rational explanation I have. Jelly can help reduce desiccation and also keep all the eggs together and might also have anti-bacterial properties. It’s a fascinating evolutionary arms race to keep your eggs safe for them to actually survive in the wild.
Manu & Caroline (postdoc, University of Washington)
PS: please read the comments below – specially the fact that “chromonid” eggs can harbour and hence be a source of “Cholera”! Yes – you heard that right. See links below –
“Here we show that egg masses of the non-biting midge Chironomus sp. (Diptera) harbour V. cholerae and act as its sole carbon source, thereby providing a possible natural reservoir for the cholera bacterium.”
Now I wish I was handling the egg sack with more care!