A teenager went for a swim at Brighton Beach in Melbourne and came out with his legs and feet covered in blood.
Sam Kanizay decided to go for a dip after a brief game of football, and walked out covered in tiny creatures gnawing at his legs and feet.
“He went back to his shoes and what he found was blood on his legs. They ate through Sam’s skin and made it bleed profusely,” said Sam’s father, Jarrod Kanizay, according to South China Morning Post.
Jarrod rushed Sam to hospital to stop the bleeding. The hospital staff were truly baffled by Sam’s condition.
“There was a massive pool of blood on the floor [at the hospital]. No one knows what the creatures are. They’ve called a number of people, whether it’s toxicity experts or marine experts and other medics around Melbourne at least ... yep, no one [knows].”
Marine biologist Dr Genefor Walker-Smith, from Victoria, said the creatures were a small, scavenging, amphipod crustaceans that usually feed on dead fish or plants.
“Sam may have walked past a group that was feeding on something. He might have bumped a dead crab and stirred them up. I think this is quite a rare thing. I really just think [Sam] was in the wrong place at the wrong time, probably,” she said.
“He was standing still for a long time in the water and the water was cold, I don’t think he actually felt them biting. The fact that he just stood there gave them plenty of time to latch on. They don’t normally attack humans, it’s just an unfortunate coincidence.”
Jarrod returned to the beach with two of his other children to investigate the pesky creatures.
"I went out to the same distance and same area that Sam was in, and we loaded the net up with some bloodied meat, some bones, and after 15 minutes I came out of the water," he told ABC Radio Melbourne.
"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. [They] were very attracted to red meat.”
However, Dr Walker Smiths assures that Sam’s case was an isolated event and highly unlikely to happen again.
“It was just unlucky. It's possible he disturbed a feeding group but they are generally not out there waiting to attack like piranhas," she explained.
"It's possible that he just happened to be standing quite close to a dead fish, or maybe he knocked it or touched it with his foot.”
She went onto to explain that amphipods are not venomous nor are they anything to fear.
Sam is still feeling some pain from the attack but is making a swift recovery.