LOOK: Thousands of Strange Jelly-Like Creatures Found in Huntington Beach
Thousands of mysterious gelatinous creatures washed up on the shore of Huntington Beach in California on Monday. The strange creatures prompted curiosity from locals, guessing that they could be baby monsters or even aliens.
Gizmodo reports that in the Huntington Beach Community Facebook, Ryan Rustan, a local resident, posted a picture of the strange creatures that he described as "little water balloons popping under his feet." Rustan noted that there were approximately thousands of these little creatures on the Huntington Beach shore.
Another resident, Don Coursey, told Los Angeles CBS Local that in his three decades of walking on the said beach with his wife, this is the first time that he has seen such puzzling creatures. But Huntington Beach Marine Safety Lt. Eric Dieterman said otherwise, telling Los Angeles Times that these strange creatures had appeared before.
"They've made an appearance on our beaches before. Not in this number, but I have seen them in the past," Lt. Dieterman said.
"There were so many along the sand you could barely walk," said Lisa Mooney, another local, who found the creatures while collecting seashells near the Huntington Beach Pier.
Weird as they may look, Matt Bracken, UC Irvine associate professor at the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, offered some answers in unveiling what these strange creatures really are. Bracken said these creatures could be "pelagic tunicates" or more commonly known as snaps.
“These marine invertebrates look sort of like jellyfish, but they are actually more closely related to vertebrates (e.g., humans) than to other invertebrates. They occasionally bloom off the California coast," Bracken told OC Register.
“There’s all kinds of weird things happening. It’s just strange," said Huntington Marine Safety Lt. Claude Panis.
He noted that the declining El Niño could have been the cause of the mysterious occurence of the creatures in Huntington. He noted that apart from the appearance of these creatures, there have been an increase in the number of stingrays spotted near the local shore.