Girl encounters beady-eyed aquatic jelly creature, lives to tell the tale
August 8, 2011 3:58 PM   Subscribe

What is this tiny creature I found attached to my leg after swimming in the Chesapeake Bay?

I should have asked this a year ago when it first happened, but as I'm heading to the same beach in a few weeks, it popped into my head again.

After swimming in the Chesapeake Bay near the mouth of the Pawtuxent River in early July 2010, I found the little creature linked to above attached to my leg. It was very sticky and it was a little difficult to get off of my skin. It was tiny - about the size of the loop at the end of a bobby pin, as you can see in the second picture. I also felt a little itchy where it was attached after I got it off, but that could have been psychosomatic because ohmygoodness look at how weird it is!

So, what is it? I looked at pictures of leech babies and various other aquatic creatures I could have imagined it being (A super tiny baby horseshoe crab? Some kind of tadpole?) but haven't found anything that looks remotely like it.
posted by SugarAndSass to Science & Nature (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
It's oddly cute.

My first instinct was "leech!" .. but he's a bit transparent and if he were imitating a vampire I'd expect some inside parts of him to be red. I also don't think leeches have eyes.

He also looks like he has "fins" the way a manta ray might.

Did he move at all? Do you remember if he wiggled or squirmed?
posted by royalsong at 4:15 PM on August 8, 2011

To me it just looks like some kind of fish larvae. Its insides look like it has defined organs and a backbone, to me. I think there are some more ichthyologically minded folks around her who might be able to give a better answer.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:20 PM on August 8, 2011

Maybe a baby hillstream loach, or some other species of suckerbelly?
posted by Gator at 4:23 PM on August 8, 2011

Seconding hillstream loach. If you google image it, you can see a resemblance.
posted by vivzan at 4:48 PM on August 8, 2011

Fish Louse aka Argulus. I had those in my aquarium once.
posted by JujuB at 4:51 PM on August 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

Thanks, JujuB. That's absolutely disgusting, and definitely the same thing.

At least it wasn't attached to my eye. I will be keeping my head above water this time around...
posted by SugarAndSass at 5:22 PM on August 8, 2011

I realize it doesn't help answer your question, but there is no way in hell I am ever going to click your "attached to my eye" link, and just knowing that link goes somewhere is freaking me the fuck out.
posted by davejay at 7:46 PM on August 8, 2011 [11 favorites]

I clicked it, it's okay.
posted by jessamyn at 11:09 PM on August 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Absolutely disgusting? Nuh-uh. Small beer.

This right here is the stuff of fishy nightmares.
posted by flabdablet at 11:50 PM on August 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

I realized right after I posted my comment that I should have specified that the link contains no image (and actually a lot of interesting information). Sorry about that.
posted by SugarAndSass at 2:09 AM on August 9, 2011

Yup, that's something called sea louse (sea lice). My boyfriend got them after he went swimming in the ocean. He got a pretty gross rash from it.
posted by ATX Peanut at 10:41 AM on August 9, 2011

Try wearing full-face goggles if you want to stick your head under? That should keep them off your eyes.
posted by Canageek at 11:27 AM on August 9, 2011

« Older Well these are my options. What do you think?   |   What's your life like as a doctor or pharmacist? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.