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Strange looking "sea mouse" found in Port au Choix couple's lobster pots


Stella and Delbert Mailman had never seen such a creature before

PORT AU CHOIX, N.L. – The ocean bears all kinds of unusual, alien creatures, scantly ever seen by the human eye.

But sometimes it washes up some of these oddities.

On Wednesday, May 23, Stella and Delbert Mailman were hauling up their last lobster pots for the day when they found something strange they had never seen before.

“I didn’t know what it was, I thought it was maybe a piece of moss or something,” said Stella. “When I picked it up and turned it over, it started to move. I said, ‘Oh my god, it’s gross.’”

She estimates it was about six inches long and 1.5 to 2-inches wide.

Stella mistook it for moss as the creature’s “hair” was caked in mud.

Unfortunately, it didn’t survive long out of water.

When they got home, Stella took to Facebook, posting three pictures, where a number of people quickly identified it as a “sea mouse”.

Other comments ranged widely, from “gross” to “ugly” to “nasty”.

According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica, the sea mouse (scientifically named aphrodita after the Greek goddess Aphrodite) is “any of a genus of marine worms of the class Polychaeta (phylum Annelida), named for their mouselike appearance and behaviour.”

They are “usually 7.5-15 centimetres (3-6 inches) long; however some attain a length of 30 centimetres (12 inches).”

Its “slightly arched back is covered with a dense mat of hair-like setae about 2.5 centimetres (1 inch) long.”

The sea mouse’s main diet is of decaying bodies of other animals, as it scrounges the ocean floor.

They are found in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.

Stella says she’s considering keeping the creature, cleaning it and preserving it in alcohol in a glass container.

stephen.roberts@northernpen.ca

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