Ocean swimming... with flesh-eating sea lice
Play • 40 min

A Melbourne man recently emerged from the ocean with his legs covered in blood seeping from thousands of tiny wounds.

Dr. Murray Thomson from the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at The University of Sydney, thinks that Cirolana harfordi, a small crustacean that lives on the coast and in rivers, may have been to blame. These creatures have been known to take down sharks, have bitten divers on the face and have even skeletonised the top half of a human, using their slicing, guillotine-like mouth parts. If they're around where you're swimming, you've probably got about 10 minutes to get out of the water!

I chatted to Murray about his research into these fascinating (terrifying...) creatures, their various types and behaviours, as well as their evolution and precautions you should take if you think there may be Cirolanids around.

Songs in this episode - all licensed under a Creative Commons License:


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