It’s not every day that a strange blob of seemingly otherworldly goo washes up on a Canadian lake, but when it does you can be sure it’ll make headlines. In Canada — which is home to moose, maple syrup, timbits and literally nothing else — there’s a little place called Lost Lagoon, which is a manmade lake near Stanley Park in Vancouver. In that lake, there are dragon boogers.
The blobs, which Kathleen Stormont of the Stanley Park Ecology Society described as “like three-day-old Jello, a bit firm but gelatinous,” are a colony of filter-feeding organisms which goes by the scientific name Pectinatella magnifica. Pectinatella magnifica is Latin for “giant booger of death”… okay, it’s not, it’s actually Latin for “the magnificent bryozoan.” Bryozoa are a phylum that includes over 4,000 different species of marine invertebrates which snag food particles out of the water that surrounds them, and are found in both fresh and salt water environments.
Pectinatella magnifica has been described as many things, including “alien blobs” and “dragon boogers,” but they’re actually just groups of small sea creatures clumped together for safety. They’re not particularly rare, but researchers certainly didn’t expect to find them in Vancouver, as similar species have only been spotted in Canada a handful of times.
The Lost Lagoon, which has a biofiltration pond attached to it in order to help clean runoff water from nearby roads, just happens to be the perfect environment for the creatures, and it was found to be packed with them. Plenty of food and no threat of predators has helped the animals flourish, and now the lake has an abundance of boogers.