A backpacker’s “alien” discovery in Australia has baffled fellow travellers over its bizarre appearance.
Guy Shlomi took to Facebook on Monday to share a video of the miniature creature he stumbled upon at Victoria’s Lake Bolac, 90km west of Ballarat, during his travels across the country.
“Just another alien in Australia…” he wrote in the group Australia Backpackers.
Pulling it from the water, Mr Shlomi, from Israel, told Yahoo News he showed it to his friends in disbelief.
“I had never seen something like that so I grabbed him with my hand and showed him to my friends and we started to wonder what it is?” he explained.
The clip shows a small, sausage-shaped bug with a protruding tail edge and prominent dotted eyes make its way across a white fabric before rolling on its side.
And it seems scores of people were equally bamboozled by the mysterious find, with many desperate to find out what it is.
“That’s so creepy I didn’t even watch it until the end for fear of this being one of those jump scare videos,” one user proclaimed.
“Men in Black is real, and this thing is an alien,” another declared.
Others couldn’t help but notice the bug’s likeness to day to day items.
“This is what happens if you leave a tampon in too long,” one woman joked, garnering nearly 100 likes.
“Fry it up, it’s like a sausage but with a tail,” another suggested.
Some users suggested the insect was a rat-tailed maggot, with a handful of commenters saying they too had come across Mr Shlomi’s find.
Dr Tanya Latty, an entomologist at the University of Sydney, confirmed to Yahoo News the creature was a rat-tailed maggot and were common across Australia.
Dr Latty insisted despite the stir Mr Shlomi’s post had caused, the insects don’t pose a threat to humans and are a valuable asset to the nation as well as across the world.
“They are not harmful and are in fact beneficial insects,” she explained.
“They are the larvae of drone flies which are pollinators.”
Rat-tailed maggots are often found in damp conditions such as drains or toilets before moving to drier locations to pupate. They can grow up to 15cm in length including their tails, while most are around 2-3cm.
“They are found in pools of stagnant water,” the University of Wollongong’s Professor James Wallman explained to Yahoo News.
“The ‘tail’ is actually a long breathing tube that enables the maggot to breath while immersed.”