THE mystery behind the strange ‘alien’ orbs which have been washing up on Britain’s beaches has been solved.
Yesterday we reported that holidaymakers were steering clear of the orbs, fearing they could be poisonous.
Others thought the strange sea beasts, spotted in popular tourist spots in Cornwall and Devon, could be something from outer space, or harmless stray baseballs.
One dog walker took an orb home as a memento, before swiftly chucking it in the bin over fears it could spring to life and attack their family.
But now marine experts have revealed the creatures are actually a species of urchins, known as ‘sea potatoes’, which live buried deep in the sand across the British coast.
- The animals grow to sizes of 3 inches, and can survive in waters of up to 650ft.
- They have dried shells which look like a potatoes, hence the name, and are a deep yellow colour.
- The creatures also have special spoon-shaped spines on their backs, which help them dig up to 650ft into the ground and allow them to breathe.
- Hundreds of DEAD sea potatoes were found on the shore at Long Rock, between Penzance and Marazion, on Wednesday night.
This is thought to be the biggest mass mortality of sea potatoes since May 1995, when hundreds of them washed up on the south coast of England.
- Back then, the deaths were caused by exceptionally calm waters — which allowed a thick bloom of plankton to settle on top of the sea bed, and suffocate the tiny urchins.