New Zealand has been turning into a land of strange things, with a destructive 7.8 earthquake tearing the country apart just a few weeks back. The horrors and unfortunate accidents related to the disaster are too many to count, and its power can be judged from the fact that it dragged the sea floor 2 meters above the ground, exposing a very strange and lumpy structure looking like a sea monster!
New Zealanders flocked to Muriwai Beach, located on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island, on Monday to get a glimpse of the so-called Muriwai Monster. The “monster” is a sprawling rock, with thick black tendrils shrinking in the Sun.
The photos of the weird structure were taken by a local woman, Melissa Doubleday, and posted them on Facebook to ask people about its identification.
Doubleday talked to Stuff,
“I actually thought it was a washed up whale as I approached it, so weird. It looks like worms with shells I’ve never seen before with these funny creatures that just [came] out.”
Another resident Rani Timoti told Stuff that the monster looked distinctly ‘alive.’
“It’s got a putrid smell when you’re downwind, and when you look closely, it looks like wiggling worms.”
After a while, the New Zealand Marine Sciences Society got to scene, and their consultation concluded that the object is likely to be a massive chunk of driftwood covered in strange, filter-feeding crustaceans attaching themselves to submerged rocks, debris, and ships in large numbers called gooseneck barnacles.
The species of the gooseneck barnacle was identified to be Lepas anatifera, which attaches itself to a hard surface by using flexible, muscular stalks called peduncles. These stalks are capable of growing up to 80 cm long (31 inches), and they are also used as ‘feeding tentacles.’
These particular creatures are also special as they are the only ‘sessile’ crustaceans on Earth. This means that once they attach themselves to an object, they can’t move from the spot and ‘cement’ to the area permanently.
“Everything on it has died now, and it smells really bad. Went up there yesterday to have another look!”
— Janine Krippner (@janinekrippner) November 14, 2016
In countries such as Spain and Portugal the goose barnacles, also known as percebes, are an edible delicacy, and can cost up to $500 per kilogram due to the difficulty in gathering it.
What are your thoughts on New Zeland’s barnacles sea monster?