An Australian teenager is recovering in hospital after being severely bitten by mysterious sea creatures that left his ankles and feet bleeding profusely. 16-year-old Sam Kanizay waded into the water off Brighton Beach in Australia recently, and when he emerged from the water he realized he was bleeding heavily. He ran home quickly and called for his dad. They discovered hundreds of tiny bites on Sam’s legs.
“There was no stopping the bleeding,” his father, Jarrod Kanizay, said. “We just had to get him to hospital.” But doctors had no idea what caused Sam’s injuries. Jarrod, who has lived in the area for 20 years, posted photos of his son’s feet to Facebook and all his neighbors and friends had no idea either.
Determined to get to the bottom of what caused his son’s injuries, Jarrod returned to the spot Sam had been in the water, but he made sure to have two wet suits on to protect his skin. He used a pool net and some raw meet, and suddenly a swarm of thousands of tiny creatures about 2 millimeters long appeared. He grabbed a few and brought them to a marine biologist, Genefor Walker-Smith.
Walker-Smith, a marine biologist at Museum Victoria in Melbourne, identified the creatures as lysianassid amphipods – otherwise known as “sea fleas”. The tiny scavenging crustaceans usually feast on decaying meat, like dead fish.
The biologist said that Sam appears to have been “unlucky” and likely waded into a swarm of the crustaceans feeding on a carcass.
“It’s possible [Sam] disturbed a feeding group, but they are generally not out there waiting to attack like piranhas,” she told the ABC. “The crustaceans would have swarmed off that piece of dead fish and onto his leg. He may have already had a cut, perhaps, and they were able to smell that wound or any chemicals that the wound was giving off.”
She added that beach-goers should not be worried of similar attacks as Sam’s incident seems to have been a freak accident.
As for Sam, he’s healing nicely and his family expect him to make a full recovery.