Rare find on Tasmanian beach stuns local: 'SO CONFUSED'

·News Reporter
·2-min read

A Tasmanian woman has made an incredible discovery on the beach which left many people completely amazed.

The beachgoer revealed she was on the sand at Bruny Island just off the coast when she "picked it up thinking it was a piece of seaweed."

But when holding it in her hand she noticed something else.

"I was pretty surprised to see a little eye on it," she wrote on Facebook alongside photos of her unusual discovery.

Rare eel larve found on Tasmanian beach
The woman was shocked to discover a rare eel larve on a Tasmanian beach which is completely transparent. Source: Facebook

Turns out, she discovered what she believes to be a glass eel, which is completely transparent. And the sight of it has baffled many.

"Honestly how is it see-through, where’s it brain, or anything inside for that matter," one person commented, adding, "I’m so confused but so fascinated".

Others admitted they were "fascinated" and "amazed" by what many believed to be a baby eel, but the Tasmanian woman wondered if she was right, or if the creature was something else.

"How is it so clear," another wondered.

 Bruny Island, Tasmania
The Tasmanian woman was at a beach on Bruny Island, Tasmania when she stumbled upon the discovery. Source: Getty

'Amazing' beach discovery identified

Professor Ian Tibbetts, a fish biologist at the University of Queensland, confirmed the woman's suspicions to Yahoo News Australia.

She believes she stumbled upon "a short-finned eel in its larval stage," which refers to the time after birth or hatching and before the adult form is reached.

Prof Tibbetts said the "amazing" find is in fact a "leptocephalus larva of an elopomorph fish." An elopomorph fish is the name given to eels, ladyfish and tarpon.

Short-finned eels are native to Australia, New Zealand, and much of the South Pacific. They start off their lives being transparent before becoming pigmented as they grow.

Professor Culum Brown, a biologist at Macquarie University, explained that "babies hatch way out in the ocean and are initially part of the plankton," so it's a rare sight to see one on the beach.

The woman's find is the larva of an elopomorph fish, the name given to eels, ladyfish and tarpon. Source: Facebook/Getty
The woman's find is the larva of an elopomorph fish, the name given to eels, ladyfish and tarpon. Source: Facebook/Getty

"They are small, thin, flat and transparent and as they approach the coast they gradually change and start to become more elongate — the typical eel shape — and become green/brown in colour," he said.

"Soon after they start to migrate up rivers and creeks and become increasingly like baby eels (ie they look like little adult eels)."

But he too confirmed the eel in the picture is definitely in its larva stage.

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