Unusual sea creatures found washed up on a beach have intrigued a coastal community.
On Facebook, a woman shared a series of photos of her latest finds at a beach near Mandurah, Western Australia, all of different animals and plants which washed ashore.
One of the creatures was a murky red in colour, someone assumed it must be “some sort of egg”, another guessed it was dolphin placenta.
The original poster actually did some research and determined the red object was a wandering sea anemone, which Professor Culum Brown, a marine biologist from Macquarie University confirmed.
Wandering sea anemone, also known as the swimming anemone or Phlyctenactis tuberculosa, can be found off the coast of Western Australia, NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and New Zealand, usually along rocky shores.
According to the Australian Museum, swimming anemone sometimes attach to algae or rocks, but moves about freely.
“It can crawl along the bottom or drift with the current,” the Australian Museum notes on its website.
“During the day the tentacles are usually collapsed but at night the anemone moves to the tips of plants to feed. Compared with other anemones, the swimming anemone is quite an agile predator.”
The tentacles of wandering sea anemone can be yellow, orange, blue and red, as they are in this case and the museum notes they are often striped.
One of the other creatures found was a colonial sea squirt, according to Prof Brown, although many assumed it was some kind of eggs.
Colonial sea squirts are known as ascidians.
“Ascidians are the evolutionary link between invertebrates and vertebrates,” The Australian Museum says.
“They are an invertebrate with some primitive vertebrate features, such as a primitive backbone during a stage in their life cycle.”
The other creatures proved to a some sort of algae and and a sea sponge.
Prof Brown assured Yahoo News Australia none of the creatures found on the beach are harmful to humans.
In the comments on the Facebook post, people commented on the post saying one of the creatures was a sea hare, but did not specify which creature she was referring to.
Prof Brown confirmed none of the photos were sea hares, the person who suggested one of the creatures was a sea hare also correctly pointed out they can be toxic.
Prof Brown told Yahoo News Australia sea hares vary in toxicity, but as a general rule people should wash their hands if they touch them and dogs should be kept away from them at all costs.
Previously, Prof Brown identified a sea hare for Yahoo News Australia after one washed up on to a beach at Fremantle.
“They are mildly toxic ... depending on the algae they have been eating,” Prof Brown said in February.
The bizarre looking, toxic creatures have confused people all across Australia, one woman in Queensland shared photos of a sea hare to a Facebook group and one person thought it was whale vomit.
Another person speculated it was something out of this world.
“Alien cocoon,” one woman wrote.
“They are all among us.”
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