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Flesh-eating sea creatures devour Australian teen’s legs

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MELBOURNE, Australia – A 16-year-old Australian boy waded into water Saturday to soak his legs after a soccer game and came out bloodied and ravaged by mysterious sea creatures.

Sam Kanizay was swimming in Melbourne’s Dendy Street Beach in Brighton when “little mite-type bugs” began chewing on him.

“It looked like a war injury,” Jarrod Kanizay told the BBC of his son’s injuries. “As soon as we wiped [his legs] down, they kept bleeding,” Jarrod Kanizay told the AAP.

“They ate through Sam’s skin and made it bleed profusely.” And they left doctors stumped. But there have been theories aplenty, per the New York Times and the AP: Some were sure that sea lice, a group of crustaceans known as isopods, were responsible.

When doctors had no explanation for the cause of Sam’s bloodied legs, Jarrod put on a wetsuit and went back to the beach Sunday, using steak bits to bait and trap “thousands of little mite-type creatures.” He then recorded the creatures in action.

The head of the Dolphin Research Institute points the finger at another group of crustaceans called amphipods; another marine expert speculates it was jellyfish larvae. As for Thomas Cribb, a parasite expert at the University of Queensland, “It’s not a parasite I’ve ever come across.”

A marine biologist with Museums Victoria analyzed a sample taken by Kanizay and says they’re a scavenging crustacean known as lysianassid amphipods, or sea fleas. He speculates they have a leech-like anti-coagulant that kept the blood flowing from Sam’s legs, and said the teen may not have felt the bites because of the chill of the winter water.

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