A beachgoer has made a bizarre discovery on a beach in Victoria, turning to social media for help to identify the odd-looking creature.
The woman was walking along Waratah Bay, in the state’s South Gippsland region, when she came across the 25cm long creature in the sand.
With its fleshy colour and tubular shape, the beachgoer’s request for help attracted plenty of X-rated comments – though some people were genuinely stumped.
“Maybe a cuttlefish?” one person suggested, while another simply described the creature as “something yucky looking”.
But among the cheeky responses were also several comments with the correct answer – the bizarre, washed up creature is in fact a sea pen, given its name for its resemblance to a quill.
Sea pens are a type of soft coral and are found around the coastlines of every state in Australia, as well as other countries around the world.
The woman who made the discovery said she was “privileged” to have seen the sea pen, even though it was no longer alive.
Sydneysider baffled after finding ‘glow in the dark’ sea pen
Just last month, a man found a strange saxophone-shaped sea creature near the water’s edge at Sydney Harbour, claiming it covered in slime and could “glow in the dark”.
Head of Marine Invertebrates at the Australian Museum Dr Shane T Ahyong confirmed to Yahoo News Australia it was a sea pen and said it was unusual to find them on land.
"They are relatively common in the eastern part of the harbour, well below the tideline, and so are usually only seen by snorkellers and divers," he said.
Dr Ahyong also explained the glowing effect, saying the sea pen is bioluminescent, meaning it glows when touched.
The light is believed to ward off predators and minimise impact caused by other marine animals while the sea pen's polyps are feeding away.
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