Plot thickens as experts baffled by flesh-eating sea bug

Mandy Carr
August 8, 2017

Jarrod Kanizay went back to the beach with a net and found the "strange creatures".

St Kilda midfielder Koby Stevens has revealed he was on his way to Brighton beach when an email arrived about the "sea lice" who tore up a Melbourne teenager's legs on the weekend.

Marine biologists have said they were likely to have been sea fleas, tiny scavenging marine animals. Some blamed the vicious attack on wee crustaceans called isopods, or "sea lice", but experts are trying to clear up that error.

When speaking with 3AW journalists, the Melbourne youth said there were "hundreds" of "pin-sized bites" on both his feet and ankles.

"They ate through Sam's skin and made it bleed profusely", he said. As with any form of lice, these so-called "sea lice" are not a source of fun for anyone.

But on the way to the hospital, Sam told him that his pain was "up to an eight out of 10", his father said.

"There was a massive pool of blood on the floor".

"These animals are scavengers, they live on meat or animal matter, they've got a really keen sense of smell I suppose you'd say."

But she said swimmers at Melbourne's beaches were unlikely to suffer the same fate as Sam.

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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.

Dr Walker-Smith told Fairfax he believed the bleeding wouldn't stop because of the anti-coagulant being released by the fleas to stop the blood from clotting, in the same way leeches behave. "I've put meat into a net and they've grabbed on to that like no tomorrow".

"They are small crustaceans that do bite into fish and into people, occasionally".

A hospital staff guessed it to be sea lice as other staff members got on the internet to search for what possibly could have caused such bleeding.

"No one knows what the creatures are".

"We caught thousands of little mite-type characters, we took them home in the Esky, and we were playing scientists for an hour thereafter, putting them in different dishes and feeding them different things". But they'd just take a bite of something big if they came past it.

Mr Kanizay took a video of dozens of the tiny bug-like creatures chomping on the chunks of flesh.

"I wonder if it was just that night, just that spot, at that particular time", Mr Murray said.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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