Australia: Flesh Eating Sea Fleas Attack Teen's Legs While Swimming


An Australian teenager is recovering in hospital after an attack by "mite-sized sea critters" left him pouring blood from multiple tiny wounds on his legs.

Sam Kanizay, 16, was soaking his legs at Dendy Street Beach to cool down after football on Saturday night when he felt his legs tingling.

"When he got out, he described having sand on his legs, so he went back in the water", his father Jarrod Kanizay told the AAP. 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.

A spokesman for the department of environment, land, water and planning said that sea fleas are a "common and natural part of a healthy marine ecosystem" and that they "keep our marine waters clean by consuming dead and dying marine animals".

"We live across the road from the beach", his father, Jarrod Kanizay, told The Washington Post.

Jeff Weir, executive director of the Dolphin Research Institute, suspects the creature responsible is likely a shrimp-like crustacean.

Sam Kanizay suffered these mysterious injuries.

"We put them in an Esky and brought them home and looked at them intently and let them swim in white dishes with red meat", Jarrod said.

Thanks to his video, experts were able to confidently identify the creatures as lysianassid amphipods, a type of scavanger shrimp-like crustacean commonly known as "sea fleas".

They said that a piranha-style attack like this is highly unlikely to happen again any time soon.

Although they don't cause lasting damage, they've caused us enough mental scaring for one evening and given Sam a day he'll probably never forget.

He said: "What is really clear is these little things really love meat".

"They're not venomous, it's really just that they've punctured the skin and he's bled", she said. Yeah, I wasn't expecting it at all.

It's also possible they "contained an anti-coagulant, which would account for the inability to stop the flowing blood and that the very cold water may be the reason Sam didn't feel the bites".

Sam Kanizay, 16, holding a jar with creatures in it speaks from a bed of a hospital where he is treated, in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Aug. 7, 2017.

"This was a first, so that's why I query whether it's sea lice or some other creature that have caused the issue".