The father of a Melbourne teenager who was "eaten" by sea creatures during an evening swim may have solved the mystery that has baffled medical experts.
Sam Kazinay, 16, chose to soak his feet in the water at Dendy Street Beach in Brighton, Victoria, because they felt sore from playing football.
"When he got out, he described having sand on his legs, so he went back in the water", he said.
The ABC also quoted Dolphin Research Institute executive director Jeff Weir as saying he had also faced a similar experience with the "sea lice" during a scuba diving outing.
"What is really clear is these little things really love meat", he quipped as the animals devoted their attentions to the steak.
"But I realised that couldn't have been it, because it was evenly distributed over my whole ankle and foot". He speculates they have a leech-like anti-coagulant that kept the blood flowing from Sam's legs, and said the teen may not have felt the bites because of the chill of the winter water.
Because they have no venomous properties, the damage will not be lasting; Sam will recover, according to the post.
"You really need your feet for this game so we were advised not to go down there", he said. "It's possible he disturbed a feeding group, but they are generally not out there waiting to attack like piranhas".
"I don't think there has been anything that has changed, there just aren't that many people that stand really still for that long".
He said: "It's not a parasite I've ever come across".
"He hobbled home pretty quickly".
"I didn't feel anything untoward when I was in the water", he said:...
To investigate further, the boy's father, Jarrod Kanizay, returned to the spot his son was bitten and dangled some raw meat into the water to attract the critters.
"They are very good at finding food", he said of the scavengers.
Sam was given painkillers and antibiotics and had blood tests.
Sam could have been attacked by sea lice, stingrays or jellyfish larvae.
The organization's marine biologist Genefor Walker-Smith examined samples captured by Kanizay and concluded that the likely culprits were "lysianassid amphipods, a type of scavenging crustacean".