Local News

An expert solves the mystery behind “piranha-like attack” on Melbourne teen’s legs

Warning: Graphic images ahead.
Melbourne teen, Melbourne news, Australia news, Dr Genefor​ Walker-Smith, Sam Kanizay

Australians are breathing a sigh of relief this morning, as the mystery sea creatures behind an alarming incident at a Melbourne beach have been identified.

Sam Kanizay, 16, was left bleeding profusely after a routine dip at Brighton’s Dendy Street Beach over the weekend. His legs and feet, covered in hundreds of little pinhole bites, had been devoured by an unknown “sea bug.”

But there’s nothing to worry about — really!

After examining a sample of the unknown critters, collected by the teenager’s father, Museums Victoria marine scientist Dr Genefor​ Walker-Smith found they were a scavenging crustacean know as lyssianasid amphipods — or ‘sea fleas.’

“They’re there all the time, you could put a piece of meat in the water, anywhere in the bay, and you could find them,” Dr Walker-Smith told Fairfax Media.

WATCH: The teenager’s father filmed the critters he believed were responsible for the attack. Post continues…

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“I think this is quite a rare thing. I really just think [Sam] was in the wrong place at the wrong time probably.”

As for why the teenager’s legs wouldn’t stop bleeding, Dr Walker-Smith said an anti-coagulant released by the fleas to stop blood from clotting — similar to that of leeches — was to blame.

That said, we might give it a few days before hitting the beach again…

Poor Sam’s legs. (Source: Jarrod Kanizay via AAP).

Sam’s legs wouldn’t stop bleeding. (Source: Jarrod Kanizay via AAP).

The teenager’s father, Jarrod Kanizay, previously described his son’s injuries as “horror movie-ish.”

“When he got out the ocean, he described having sand on his legs, so he went back in the water,” his dad Jarrod Kanizay told AAP.

“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.”

“As soon as we wiped them [his legs] down, they kept bleeding,” he said.

Stumped by what had attacked his son, Sam’s dad went back to the beach the following night with a net full of meat and captured the creatures he believed were responsible.

“What is really clear is these little things really love meat,” Mr Kanizay concluded.

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