‘Mini Sharks’ Isopods Are Invading California and Biting People’s Feet
It is understood that these miniature shark isopods are not much different from other isopods that make water their home. They feed on fresh meat, which is why they are attracted to their feet when people on the beach walk into the water. Despite their small size, these isopods have a powerful bite.
One person bitten by an isopod described the feeling after being bitten as “painful” and “surprising”, additionally noting that their feet looked like a swarm of small piranhas attacked them. They also said the pain seemed to go away after about 15 to 20 minutes, so it wasn’t a lasting pain. Of course, because they are so small, they are not as dangerous as real shark bites. Still, one should be wary of these miniature shark isopods.
Professor Ryan Hechinger told the media that although these isopods are very common, people can move them away. Plus, they’re all year round in the Mission Bay area, so you’ll have to deal with them when swimming there.
These animals are known to grow up to 0.3 inches long and form colonies of thousands. While their bites are painful, Hechinger said they were mostly harmless because the bites were shallow and they were not known to carry any disease.
Despite being nearby all year, these miniature shark isopods are randomly provoked in their attacks. Scientists aren’t sure what caused the rise in attacks or why there was a sudden increase. But they can be a big problem for swimmers during seasons when attacks increase. These aren’t the only isopods that make water their home, either. 1.5-foot-long isopods can also be found beneath the surface.