PHOTO: Tiny ‘Flesh-Eating’ Bugs Biting Beachgoers Throughout California

by Megan Molseed

Just when we thought it was safe to go into the water this Labor Day, the California oceans are bringing a painful sea bug to swimmers. Dubbed the “mini-shark” by some beachgoers. The tiny aggressive ocean bugs are being identified by scientists as a water-line isopod. And it seems they have an appetite for human feet.

Scientists Are Identifying Foot Biting Isopod Plaguing California Beach Goers

Southern California beachgoers are fighting off swarms of tiny but aggressive sea isopods who enjoy snacking on human feet…and ankles. These relentless creepy crawling ocean bugs have earned the moniker “mini shark.” The crustacean isopods grow to be only around 0.3 inches, or 0.8 centimeters long. A tiny opponent to face in the seas, right? Well, not so much as they join together to form major swarms. These swarms can be as big as 1,000 individual isopods note the experts take a look at the tiny attacker here.

The mini-sharks live within the shallow waters along the Pacific Ocean coast. They follow seasonal migration patterns. These migrations take the isopods up and down the California coast during certain times of the year. Leaving many swimmers and waders in some unexpected pain as they go.

The Tiny Ocean Isopods Are Drawing Blood In The Pacific, Up And Down The California Coast

These aggressive sea-dwelling isopods are experts at seeking out the feet of those wading in shallow ocean waters. The tiny bugs quickly find the swimmer’s feet and immediately bite into the flesh. Oftentimes drawing blood.

These sea bugs are so teeny tiny, experts note, that their bite feels like a pin-prick. But, despite their minuscule size, these “pin-prick” bites pack a major punch, bite victims have said. People who have fallen victim to the creepy crawling sand-dwellers describe the attacks as painful or “surprising.” Many of those who have experienced the bites of the mini shark describe the hordes as looking like a group of tiny piranhas attacking their feet and ankles.

Experts Note Shuffling Feet In The Shallow Waters May Help, But Not Eliminate The Number Of Bites

Experts note that there is little waders can do to avoid the swarms of the biting isopods short of staying out of the shallow Pacific Ocean waters along the California coast. However, they have noted that some waders and ocean goers have found slight relief shuffling their feet as they move. However, this trick does not seem to stop the bites overall. Those unlucky waders who have experienced the bites of the mini sharks say that the pain fades within 15 to 20 minutes.