Bizarre eyeball-like ‘spaghetti monster’ leaves boy,8, fleeing ocean in pain

A freaky sea beast, dubbed the spaghetti monster stung a boy swimming in the shallows of an American beach.

The child bolted from the water in burning pain before his mother, Jennifer Baltazar went looking for the creature responsible.

What she found was what looked like a disembodied eyeball which even puzzled a marine expert, when shown pictures of it.

Mum Jennifer who found the bizarre creature on the shores of Mustang Island State Park, Texas, said: “My son was in the shallows swimming when he felt the sting,” said Jennifer, 36.

“He came running from the ocean and said he was stung by something, so that’s when I went looking for what it could’ve been.

“He said it stung and burned a lot, and he was in moderate pain for about 20 minutes.

“Then it stared to wear off and he was okay, but it hurt him bad enough to not want to go back in the water.”

She continued: “I noticed these strange jellies. It was interesting because we have never seen anything like that on the beach.

“Actually when I first saw one I thought it was a fish eyeball.

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“It was globe like on top, about the size of a marble, with what looked like an eye in the centre.

“When I saw that there were a couple more I knew it wasn’t an eyeball and had to be some type of jelly.

“One that we observed had about three inches of clear jelly tentacles that had red colour in certain areas. It looked like blood.”

At first, the San Antonio resident took her photos to the park authorities, who were just as puzzled as she was.

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But sending her photos to Jace Tunnell, from the Marine Science Institute at the University of Texas, she got answers.

“I've never seen these things wash up before," the scientist told local media.

“At certain times of the year we randomly find interesting things coming in, and this one, in particular, kind of threw me off – it's an interesting find for sure.”

He told Jennifer that it looked like a species called Rhizophysa.

“At this point I was intrigued and I wanted to know the exact name of it,” Mrs Baltazar said.

“I came across the thread jelly, sometimes called a spaghetti monster.”

In a statement, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department said the creature was a local rarity.

A spokesperson said: “These are Rhizophysa eysenhardti, related to the Portuguese man o' war.

“Also called spaghetti monsters or thread-jellies, they're native to the Atlantic and an unusual find in Texas waters.”

One parks official said: “This is the first time I've come across them in my 10 years of working here and 40 plus years of living here.”

Information about the species is hard to come by, but the Australia-based Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) offers advice on what to do if stung.

It advises to thoroughly rinse the affected area with sea water, washing away any stinging cells that remain, then to use ice to relieve the pain.

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