Researchers in North Carolina said they are trying to determine the purpose of “mystery” eggs found in several loggerhead turtle nests.
The Cape Hatteras National Seashore Park Service said in an Instagram post that researchers found numerous so-called “spacer” eggs among the normal eggs in several loggerhead turtle nests along the North Carolina coast.
The spacer eggs are smaller than the turtles’ normal eggs and bear an unusual shape. The eggs lack a yolk and do not hatch into baby turtles, researchers said.
Spacer eggs are common in leatherback turtle nests, but it is not common to find them in loggerhead nests, parks officials wrote.
“Even though the name spacer egg hints to a space filling function, the purpose of these eggs are still a mystery,” parks officials wrote. “They might prevent sand from falling into the nest cavity, they may satisfy a predator that would otherwise eat viable eggs, or they may simply be a mistake in the egg-making process.”