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Posted: August 07, 2017

Hungry sea lice likely attacked, bloodied teen's legs at Australian beach


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Hungry sea lice likely attacked, bloodied teen's legs at Australian beach
Fish louse (stock photo).

By Michelle Ewing, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

MELBOURNE, Australia —

An Australian teen is recovering after tiny creatures – likely sea lice – attacked his legs at a beach in Brighton, a Melbourne suburb.

According to a report by the Guardian and the Australian Associated Press, 16-year-old Sam Kanizay of Melbourne went to the beach Saturday to soak his legs after a soccer game. But when he got out of the water 30 minutes later, his legs were numb, bloody and "covered in what his family said were tiny marine creatures eating his legs," the article said.

Sam's father, Jarrod Kanizay, took Sam to the hospital for the wounds, which the teen described to 3AW as "hundreds of little pin-sized bites" on his feet and ankles.

"There was a massive pool of blood on the floor," Jarrod Kanizay said, adding that "no one" at the hospital "knows what the creatures are." 

Marine experts say parasitic sea lice may be to blame.

>> Read more trending news

"They're scavengers who'll clean up dead fish and feed on living tissue," University of Melbourne marine biologist Michael Keough told The Age. "They're mostly less than a centimeter long, and so the bites they make are pretty small, and so that's more consistent with pinprick size marks."

He added: "It's just food for them. Especially if he's been standing around for a long time, it's the chance for more of them to come in and start biting. Just be attracted to a little bit of blood. And if he's standing in the water and he's cold and may not notice a whole lot of little bites."

University of New South Wales Associate Professor Alistair Poore, an authority on marine invertebrates, echoed the sentiment.

"If it is sea lice, then it is a pretty dramatic example of it," he told the Guardian.

In an effort to solve the mystery, Jarrod Kanizay said he returned to the spot where his son was attacked and caught some of the creatures using a net filled with meat. He then recorded the creatures eating the meat in a now-viral – and nauseating – video.

>> See the clip here (WARNING: Graphic content.)

Read more here or here.


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