Amphipods may be sea creature that feasted on Australian teenager's legs

Camille Francis
August 9, 2017

After he got out of the water, the teen taught his legs were covered in sand and tried to remove it.

He went home and called his parents from the front of their house because he didn't want to track blood inside, he said. When it happens you brush it off, or move, or get out of the water and there's no outcome, whereas in this case, Sam was standing in cold water for quite a long time. Together with him, he had bowls and pieces of raw meat.

"If you imagine that you had your arms exposed somewhere and you had hundreds of mosquitoes biting your arm, without you realising it for some reason, then they could probably cause some fairly significant wounds as well", he said.

At first he felt a numbness, but he thought it was due to cold water. Because it's a larger area it looks pretty bad.

"What is really clear is these little things really love meat", he said of a video, shared with AAP, showing the bugs in a tray of water devouring chunks of meat.

"I would expect and hope he will recover pretty quickly".

His father Jarrod Kanizay said hospital staff had no idea what kind of creature could have caused the injuries, so he went back to the beach with a net full of meat and captured the parasite he believes could have been responsible. Walker-Smith suggested some sea fleas might inject an anticoagulant into their food to prevent blood clotting.

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Sam Kanizay, 16, spent 30 minutes in the bay cooling down after Saturday sport in upmarket Brighton.

"He (Kanizay) must have been very, very cold and he wouldn't have felt it", added Weir, who experienced a similar injury on his forehead after a night dive 40 years ago. When he came out of the sea he was bleeding profusely from the calves down.

The Australian teen's legs were left chewed and bloodied ever after being treated at the hospital as it took a lot of time for the blood to clot, since the tissue was damaged by so many bites.

"It's great that people are being educated along the way - educated and I guess entertained", Mr Kanizay said.

"We're keen for him to get back to school and normal life as soon as possible but the nurses might have something to say about that".

He described the weird creatures as "scavengers who'll clean up dead fish and feed on living tissue", typically less than a centimeter in length and thus likely to produce pinprick-size marks on skin.

Associate Professor Reina said sea fleas should not alarm people or deter them from swimming.

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