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Flesh-eating sea fleas send Australian teen to hospital

08 Août 2017

A TEENAGER was left hospitalised after he was savaged by blood-thirsty sea creatures who started "eating" his legs as he took a dip in Australia.

Sam's father Jarrod chose to return to the beach the following night armed with a pool net full of meat and managed to captured dozens of tiny bug-like creatures.

Mr Kanizay said the injuries were a "freak incident" and has since received a biopsy and a number of stitches as medical experts try to piece together what happened.

He went to the water as his feet felt sore following the game.

According to Jeff Weir, who is the executive director at Dolphin Research Institute, the injury could be likely caused by the bite of some amphipod, a tiny crustacean.

Video Mr. Kanizay took show the little creatures feasting on the bait. Just because they gathered around the meat Kanizay's dad put in the water, that doesn't prove that those creatures were the ones that bit Sam.

"I collected these unusual creatures from the same spot last night by trapping them in a net and standing in the water myself", he said.

Mr Kanizay returned to the beach with Sam's siblings the next day to see if they could collect some of the culprits.

"As soon as we wiped [his legs] down, they kept bleeding", father Jarrod Kanizay said.

And they are widespread in the ocean, found all over the globe: "They constitute the largest source of protein in the world's oceans in their early larval stages", the ADFG says. "Some people thought that it was sea lice, but nobody really knew anything".

"They're not venomous, it's really just that they've punctured the skin and he's bled", she said.

"We're a really positive family and we expect a full recovery", he said.

"It was very cold, probably, about this time of year", he said, "and when I got out of the water I realised my forehead was bleeding and parts of my cheeks were bleeding".

Sam is still in Sandringham Hospital, but is now off antibiotics.

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

Genefor Walker-Smith, a marine biologist at Museum Victoria in Melbourne, identified the creatures Kanizay had collected as lysianassid amphipods, minuscule scavenging crustaceans that are attracted to the chemicals emitted by decaying meat, the museum said in a statement.

Flesh-eating sea fleas send Australian teen to hospital