Hundreds of mysterious orbs washed up on beaches of Devon and Cornwall

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. At first they looked like baseballs or perhaps esoteric vegetables. Finally the hundreds of odd orbs washed up on beaches and have been identified as a species of urchin known as a sea potato.The sight of hundreds of the objects alarmed holidaymakers in Devon and Cornwall who steered well clear, fearing they could be poisonous.A dog walker, however, was brave enough to take one home as a memento, the Sun reported, before throwing it into the bin as a precaution.Scientists have identified the objects as sea potatoes, a sea urchin which can grow up to three inches in diameter and able to survive in waters up to 650 feet deep.They have been dubbed sea potatoes because of their dried brownish yellow shells.Hundreds of the urchins were washed up on the beach between Penzance and Marion on Wednesday night. The last time as many appeared on land was in May 1995.The sea potatoes or Echinocardium cordatum, to give the urchin its scientific name, lives in sand burrows and are commonplace on some sandy beaches.“You get lots of them on Torbay main beach, for example,” told the Guardian. “They are related to starfish and usually covered with little spines.”Mass strandings were not particularly rare, he added. “I think such things happen from time to time and are entirely natural – bit like bushfires.”last_img

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