What IS that? Squirming Blob-like sea creature washes up on a Texas beach and sparks a guessing game
- Sea hare found washed during a routine survey of the marine life Nighthawk Bay
- Was found by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and been returned to water
- Social media users compared it to the monster from the the 1958 film The Blob
A squirming sea hare has left members of the public scratching their heads after it was found washed up on the shore at a beach in Texas.
The jelly-like creature was found by Holly Grand from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department during a routine survey of the marine life in the Laguna Madre at Nighthawk Bay.
Some have since compared the creature to the gruesome monster from the 1958 film The Blob, starring Steve McQueen and Aneta Corsaut, while others said it was reminiscent of a being from the TV series Stranger Things.
The squirming sea hare was found by Holly Grand from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department during a routine survey of the marine life at Nighthawk Bay
Footage shared by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department shows the strange creature squirming around in the hand of a member of staff.
Spokesman for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Julie Hagen, said the sea hare was found and recorded by a team of biologists before being returned to the water.
She said: ‘The most common guess on social media was The Blob, with a few guesses that were correct.
‘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 creature, which was found and recorded by a team of biologists before being returned to the water, slowly moves around
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department asked members of the public to guess what the strange creature was
The jelly-like creature was found during a routine survey of the marine life in the Laguna Madre
‘The data is then combined with other similar data points and used to helps make fisheries management decisions.’
The Blob, which featured Steve McQueen and Aneta Corsau, told the story of an amorphous alien that lands on Earth and devours residents
While the creature’s appearance may have turned a few stomachs, Ms Hagen said it 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.’
Recognising the creature’s enigmatic appearance was likely to capture the public imagination, the department challenged their online followers to identify it from a short video.
One user wrote: ‘Gawd! When I was a kid I saw this thing in a movie. I think it was called ‘The Blob’. Damn thing looks like a pile of moving snot.’
While another added: ‘Looks very similar to the sea slug I found (and held in my hand briefly before releasing it) off Laguna Beach, CA, years ago.’
Another person commented: ‘The Blob movie terrified me as a child. Still does lol! Put that thing back in the water!!!’
Social media users took to Facebook to try and guess what the mysterious creature was
What are sea hares?
Sea hares are marine snails that can grow between 7-20cm in length.
The creatures are usually found feeding on seaweed in shallow waters and will often camouflage to avoid predators.
They have an internal shell which is around 4cm long and transparent and their upper head tentacles resemble a hare’s ears.
The creatures are hermaphrodites and can mate as both male and female.
Sea hares which feed on green seaweed tend to have a green colour while those that eat red seaweed are reddish-maroon in colour.
Meanwhile another social media said: ‘The next season of Stranger Things?’
Elsewhere one user wrote: ‘It looks like a giant slug made out of algae. So weird.’
The Blob, which featured Steve McQueen in his first starring role, told the story of an amorphous alien that lands on Earth and begins to devour residents in the towns of Phoenixville and Downingtown, Pennsylvania.
As it continues to consume residents, the mysterious creature from outer space grows larger, redder, and more aggressive.
The film eventually sees the creature being airlifted to an Arctic ice field by the authorities in the hope it will no longer harm anyone.
Sea hares are marine snails that can grow up to 20cm in length and are commonly found in shallow water.
The sea creatures, which feed on seaweed, have an internal shell, which is around 4cm long and transparent.
Similar to sea slugs, the creatures are hermaphrodites and can sometimes mate as both male and female.
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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