For the good people out at Cape Lookout National Seashore in North Carolina, it’s not unusual to see creatures on the beach. It is, however very unusual that they can’t identify them.
The park service at Cape Lookout posted a Facebook post about the mystery creatures, and asked for some help from the public in identifying them. Our friend Melanie Day at our sister station Kiss 95.1 FM in Charlotte first reported this story.
“Weird things found on the beach — okay everybody, we need some help identifying these objects. Our turtle patrol found them on the ocean side beach recently adjacent to a log covered in goose-neck barnacles (no idea if they are connected to the log or if its just a coincidence),” the post from the National Seashore said. So far, we’re stumped as to what they might be. They were about 6 inches long and no longer alive. One guess was they might be a form of sea cucumber (or sea slug?), but they couldn’t be matched to any images that were posted online.”
Lots of theories were offered up for what the creatures might be, including “Harbinger of The Old Ones,” snails, plankton or any other number of freaky suggestions.
One commenter named Paul Wolf said he was a former “polychaete taxonomist” and narrowed it down to likely being “bristle worms.”
“These are most definitely polychaetes, commonly called bristle worms,” Wolf said. “They are probably members of the family Amphinomidae, which would include what folks are calling fire worms. Be aware, though, there are dozens and dozens of species of amphinomids, many of which look alike to the naked eye, and by the way, color is not an identifying characteristic.”
Whatever the mystery creatures on the North Carolina beach actually are, I’m fascinated, and welcome our alien overlords! But if you happen to see something like this at the beach, don’t touch it. It could be dangerous. Contact the nearest wildlife or park services team.