A SQUIRMING sea creature has been branded The Blob, just like the classic movie monster, after experts challenged the public to identify the odd life form.
Holly Grand, from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, found the jelly beast during a routine survey of the marine life in Nighthawk Bay.
Recognising the creature’s enigmatic appearance was likely to capture the public imagination, the department then challenged their online followers to identify it in a short video.
“The most common guess on social media was The Blob, with a few guesses that were correct,” said spokeswoman Julie Hagen.
Others compared it to a creature from the TV series, Stranger Things, while some only expressed disgust at is slimy appearance.
“This would scar me for life if I just randomly found one,” said one viewer
However, despite its unusual appearance, the creature is not actually unusual within the area – it’s a type of sea hare.
Ms Hagen said: “As crazy as these sea hares may appear, they are not particularly rare or special and they’re definitely not dangerous in any way."
“There are a couple of species of sea hare present in Texas bays – they can live in most shallow water, and temperate or tropical climates if there is an abundance of algae.”
She continued: “This sea hare was found and recorded by our biologists and then returned to the water.
"We return all organisms to the water after they have been recorded.
“The data is then combined with other similar data points and used to help us make fisheries management decisions.”
And while the creature’s appearance may have turned a few stomachs, Julie says it’s proved a great way to spark public curiosity about the natural world.
“We tend to get the most engagement when we highlight saltwater species that most people are not familiar with,” she said.
“This helps to educate but also entertain the public.”
Classic sci-fi horror movie The Blob, which featured Steve McQueen in his first starring role, was released in 1958.
The movie told the story of an amorphous alien that crashes to Earth and devours the residents of two small towns, growing larger and larger.
It was also remade in 1988 with gory special effects.
The original is regarded as a cult classic, and is celebrated every year in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, with the event "Blobfest".
The monstrous Blob's real life analogue sea hares, however, are more prey than predator.
They are usually found feeding on seaweed at shallow depths, and often use their camouflage to avoid predators, sometimes releasing a cloud of ink if they need to escape.
Nighthawk Bay, where this specimen was found, is part of the Laguna Madre – one of just six hypersaline bays in the world, meaning its waters are saltier than those of the ocean.
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