Strange sea creature found on Outer Banks ignites debate. ‘What the heck is that’?


Something bruised and squishy came ashore on North Carolina’s Hatteras Island just days before the Memorial Day weekend, and an online debate continues over what to call it.

The formless creature appears to be circular with a skirt-like canopy. And it has a purplish tail.

It was was spotted by Danielle Coulombe Sisco of Vermont, during a recent visit to the Outer Banks and she was curious enough to share a photo with the Hatteras Island Facebook group.

“I am in love with Hatteras island and a big sea marine geek,” she wrote. “However I cannot identify this jellyfish or jelly fish like creature? It doesn’t look like a nettle, lions mane, or cannonball. What? Oh what could this be?”

Sisco didn’t include the size of her discovery and jokingly referred to it as “a thing from hell” — a sentiment that was shared by others.

The Facebook group has more than 42,400 followers, many of who are accustomed to seeing photos of dead things on the beach.

However, this sea creature appears to be something new.

One man said it is an example of something locals refer to as “blood suckers,” while others made jokes about the creature from “Aliens” that attaches itself to people’s faces.

“What the heck is that. All my years have never seen that,” Janet Walker Gutridge wrote.

“Looks like a ray and a jelly had a baby,” Joshua Crenshaw posted.

“Almost looks like a horseshoe crab that shed … (its) shell,” Jon Askew said.

Ideas are being offered, but a consensus has yet to be formed. Multiple commenters believe it’s a lion’s mane jellyfish, though the species isn’t common off the Carolinas.

Lion’s mane jellyfish are found in colder waters — the North Atlantic and North Pacific — and are known to have “tentacles up to 120 feet long” and can “rival in size the blue whale, the largest animal in the world,” according to Oceana.org.

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