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A gross black substance that bugged beachgoers in coastal Maine turned out to be millions of dead insects, a new report said.
Experts set out to find the skin-crawling truth about the substance on Wells Beach after some locals noticed the darkened sand and stained feet, the Portland Press-Herald reported on Tuesday.
“I collected some of the stuff, brought it back and put them under my microscope,” said Linda Stathoplos, a retired oceanographer who was called in to help solve the mystery.
“It was clearly little bugs.”
A beachgoer had tipped off state and local agencies and marine geologist Steve Dickson provided the surprising origin story on Tuesday, the Press-Herald said.
“This is the first time I’ve seen or heard of this in my 35 years,” Dickson, of Maine Geological Survey, said.
Dickson couldn’t say yet what type of insects they were or where they came from, but he believes the bug remains will simply wash back out to sea soon enough.
Beach regular Ed Smith had snapped photos of the substance and sent it to Dickson and others, concerned it might be toxic because it had stained his feet, the Press-Herald said.
“I sat on the edge of my tub with blue Dawn (dishwashing soap) and a scrub pad, and I still couldn’t remove the stain from my feet,” Smith said.
York Beach and Ogunquit had reports of a similar substance washing onto shore, the publication said.
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