They Figured Out What The Black Substance Is On Wells Beach, And It's Gross


Photo: AFP

(Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Ed Smith regularly walks Wells Beach in Maine. When he noticed that his feet were dyed black from a substance that had washed along the shore, he took photos of it and sent them to the state Department of Environmental Protection. Since this stuff was so hard to wash off, he wanted to know if he was stepping in something toxic.

Steve Dickson, a marine geologist with Maine Geological Survey, figured out what was going on with the help of two retired oceanographers who live nearby. One of them, Linda Stathoplos, took a sample from the beach and looked at it under her microscope. And what did she see?

Dead bugs. Millions of them! People were thinking that it was some kind of oil deposit making this black tar, but no, it's millions of bug carcasses. Scientists are still trying to figure out what the bugs are, where they came from and why. But they don't expect it to be a regular occurrence.

Great. Sharks, jellyfish, and now bugs...