No, Flesh-Eating Sea Bugs Aren't Going to Devour Your Legs

No, Flesh-Eating Sea Bugs Aren't Going to Devour Your Legs
From Lifehacker - August 7, 2017

An Australian teen was recently hospitalized after a mysterious swarm of creatures seemed to bite his legs and cause serious bleeding. While the incident has produced some shock and awe, theres no reason to get too worked up about it.

This is part of Lifehackers new Never Fear series. The world is a scary place, but we tend to misplace our fear in things that dont really deserve our precious time and energy. Lets fight those fears together with a little knowledge.

Sea Lice Are Not to Blame

As soon as the incident occurred, the media and internet users were quick to blame sea lice, a small crustacean that lives as an external parasite on fish and other marine animals.

They feed on mucus, epidermal tissue, and are literal bloodsuckers, but they rarely attempt to feed on people. Video of thecreatures in question was soon put online by the victims father, showing the tiny monsters devouring chunks of raw meat. Its pretty gross:

Frightening indeed, but the Museums Victoria, located in Carlton, Victoria, Australia, quickly identified the creatures as lysianassid amphipods or sea fleas, a type of scavenging crustaceannot sea lice. According to marine biologist Genefor Walker-Smith, who examined a sample collected by the teens father, sea fleas have bitten people before, but this type of attack is unusual:

It was just unlucky. Its possible he disturbed a feeding group but they are generally not out there waiting to attack like piranhas.

This Was a Particularly Rare Incident

Avoiding Sea Flea Bites Is Easy


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