|Image: Nancy O|
Moss Balls, also known as Lake Balls or Marimo in Japan, are balls of... algae. Specifically, a branching, filamentous algae called Aegagropila linnaei.
A. linnaei can be found in various rivers and lakes across the northern hemisphere, as well as Australia.
Thing is, it isn't usually a ball! It's much more typical for them to grow like a carpet or as little tufts, either floating just above the sediment or attached to rocks. It all depends on the local conditions.
These demands have only been met in specific lakes in a few countries around the world, like Japan, Scotland and Iceland. These most fortunate of nations may have whole colonies of the things. The currents roll them around so that all sides receive sufficient light and any accumulated silt is brushed off. They have to maintain that velvety soft surface, right?
Moss Balls also float on occasion, which ensures they all get a chance of catching some sun. With all this bobbing and rolling it sounds like they're having a tremendously fun time! A ball, in fact.
|Image: Nemo's Great Uncle|
Marimo are REALLY popular in Japan. They even have a Marimo festival!
|Image: Eden Politte|
Some Marimo are provided a face...
Others, an extra set of his and hers balls. Er...