PORT ARANSAS, Texas – A “creepy, eyeball-looking” creature has made its way to Mustang Island State Park this week, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife officials.
One beachgoer, Jennifer Baltazar, shared her family’s discovery of the creature on Facebook with wildlife officials on Wednesday. She told KSAT she believes it stung her son, and that her family had never seen anything like it before.
“We think it stung my son. That’s when we noticed it because I went looking for what could’ve stung him. We were super surprised because we’ve never seen anything like that on the beach and the staff at Mustang Island was puzzled,” Baltazar said.
Wildlife officials said they were “stumped for quite some time,” on figuring out what this creature actually was.
What's Washing in Wednesday? This one had us stumped for quite some time. These creepy eyeball looking creatures are...Posted by Mustang Island State Park - Texas Parks and Wildlife on Wednesday, April 7, 2021
Baltazar said she also sent the images to a marine biologist and he was also surprised at her family’s discovery.
“So I sent the photo to a marine biologist at the University. He runs a page called ‘Mission Aransas Reserve’ and he’d never seen anything like it either. We figured out which species it was,” Baltazar said.
They identified the species as Rhizophysa eysenhardti, otherwise known as spaghetti monsters or thread-jellies. They’re related to Portuguese Man-of-War jellyfish, according to wildlife officials.
Baltazar said her son was OK after the possible sting and he “just toughed it out.”
Her family saw three more of the jellies on the shore as well and said, “They’re so small you wouldn’t see them ‘til it’s on you.”
TPW officials said the jellies are native to tropical Atlantic and Indian oceans, and it’s rare to see them at Mustang Island park.
If you see any more of these creatures, you can report your findings to park officials at (361) 749-5246, or visit the park’s website for more information.