Australian Teen Left Bleeding After Rare Attack by Sea Fleas

Posted on August 7, 2017

An Australian teen suffered severe bleeding from multiple sea flea bites after wading in the ocean water. Sam Kanizay didn't realize he was bleeding until after he left the cold water at Melbourne's Dendy Street Beach in Brighton. ABC News Australia reports that the teen's family says his legs were bloodied and covered in the tiny creatures when he walked out of the water.

Kanizay was in the water for about half an hour. There were tiny holes in his legs that were causing the bleeding. Kanizay will be fine but it took a trip to the hospital to the stop the bleeding. Some of the wounds reportedly required stitches. The "sea fleas" have been identified as lysianassid amphipods, a carnivorous crustacean that is known as an ocean scavenger. The Age has an explainer on the tiny animals.

It is thought that a swarm of them attacked Kanizay. Museums Victoria marine scientist Dr. Walker-Smith told The Age, "It probably did make it worse that he was standing still; they may not have been able to cling on too tightly if he had been moving through the water. They're used to eating dead things still on the bottom."

Walker-Smith doesn't think the hungry amphipods are a big enough threat to close beaches. The teenager may have stepped in an area where the creatures were already feeding on something else. Local swimmers have not reported any bites. The boy's father Jarrod Kanizay went to Brighton Beach with a pool net and captured thousands of the tiny creatures. He then recorded them eating at chunks of meat in a tank. Take a look:

Image: Jarrod Kanizay/YouTube

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