Strange look­ing “sea mouse” found in Port au Choix cou­ple’s lob­ster pots

Stella and Del­bert Mail­man had never seen such a crea­ture be­fore

Northern Pen - - Front page - BY STEPHEN ROBERTS stephen.roberts@north­ern­pen.ca

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.

SUB­MIT­TED PHO­TOS

The sea mouse was found caked in mud.

Turn­ing it over, Stella Mail­man re­al­ized the sea mouse was a liv­ing crea­ture.

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