Largest Egg Mass Ever Observed – Lütfü Tanrıöver (2015)

On July 9th 2015, a Turkish underwater videographer Lütfü Tanrıöver encountered a curious semi-transparent gelatinous mass at a depth of 22 meters (72 feet) while diving with his friends near his hometown of Fethiye on the Mediterranean coast of Anatolia. As every citizen scientist instinctively would, he explored and successfully recorded this observation of huge biological importance on film. It didn’t take long before the BBC Wildlife Service reached out to him about the observation.

According to Dr. Michael Vecchione of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History the impressive volume of egg mass possibly belongs to a large red flying squid with the scientific name Ommastrephes bartramii and is the largest ever recorded.

This squid has never been observed while laying eggs.

In 2008 a similar egg mass was documented for the first time by Dr. Danna Staaf and co-workers in the Gulf of California. It belonged to a Humboldt squid. Its size was reported to be between 10- and 13-feet wide, making it the largest egg mass every recorded in scientific literature.

Here in this video recorded off the coast of Turkey the egg mass is estimated to contain 600,000 to 2 million eggs. This makes it 10 times bigger than any other squid egg mass recorded. The white dots in the aggregation are the eggs visible under torch light. The larger structures however have not been identified.

Squid egg masses are elusive because of their short transient states. The eggs hatch in about three days. They also occur in deep water. For this reason divers have a higher chance to encounter them.



  1. matt says:

    I love how careful the divers are with this. And it’s odd that nothing is or has been feeding on it. So much food! Amazing stuff.

    • Uzay Sezen says:

      The diver who recorded this observation is a well known conservationist in Turkey. You are absolutely right. Their buoyancy is impressive. Not like irresponsible tourist divers smashing everything with their fins.

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