15 October 2011

More about star jelly

During the past few years, we have seen star jelly on a number of occasions. The most common time to find it seems to be autumn, though it is not unknown for it to be found at other times of the year.

There are a number of pictures of star jelly on our original post, but here I want to post some pictures which I believe are NOT star jelly.

The picture above, taken on Eigg, just might be star jelly, but the quantity was extremely small and I had noticed what appeared to be slime moulds several times in the previous couple of days, so I think it is most likely that this is also a slime mould. In the picture below, there is a slightly yellowish fruiting body, and behind it and out of focus is some pure jelly, and I think it most likely that this consists only of the slime mould.

One of the commonest and most likely theories about star jelly is that it is frog spawn, most likely rejected by a bird which was eating the frog. Birds dropping this from a height could be the reason why the jelly was thought to come from the stars.

In the picture above, there are black eggs to the right of the jelly, and a cluster of eggs can also be seen in the picture below.

Unlike the other pictures which were taken in the autumn, those with eggs were taken in March.

Read "Star Jelly Mystery solved on iSpot" for more information about the frogspawn theory, though this doesn't explain why star jelly is most commonly found in the autumn rather than the spring.

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