A rare, tiny marine creature known as the “unicorn of the sea” has swarmed in its millions on the west coast of America, ruining fishermen’s nets.
Scientists are baffled as little is known about these creatures.
Fishers along the west coast have told researchers that in some places they are unable to catch anything because the creatures are forming clusters that are so dense and tightly packed. Their hooks, when pulled from the ocean, wriggle with the odd-looking creatures, which are sometimes referred to as “sea pickles” or “fire bodies”.
The distinctive animals – only a few millimetres long – have washed up on popular beaches.
Hilarie Sorensen, who is part of a new research team set up to study the bloom, said: “Right now we are scrambling to learn as much as possible while we have the opportunity.
“If we continue to see this many, what impact will it have on the ecosystems here, and what economic impact on the fisheries?”