Warning: This article contains graphic images.
Tiny sea crustaceans are to blame for a teenager’s bloody Melbourne beach visit, a marine biologist says.
Shocking images of Sam Kanizay’s lower legs and feet have been beamed around the world after the 16-year-old went for an innocent dip at Brighton’s Dendy Street Beach on Saturday to cool his aching muscles following a tough game of footy.
It sparked widespread debate among experts about what could have turned the youth’s feet into what looked like a scene from a horror film.
Sam’s dad Jarrod Kanizay dunked some meat into the water, attracting a swarm of critters which have undergone testing.
Museums Victoria marine biologist Genefor Walker-Smith examined a sample and said they were a type of scavenging crustacean, technically know as lysianassidae amphipods.
"It was just unlucky. It's possible he disturbed a feeding group but they are generally not out there waiting to attack like piranhas," Dr Walker-Smith said in a statement on Monday.
It was possible the bugs contained an anti-coagulant similar to that produced by leeches, which explained the inability to stem the flow of blood, she said.