Mystery Surrounding New Zealand's Deep Sea "Muriwai Monster" Is Finally Solved

By Kim Bussing on December 15, 2016

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Photo Credit: Melissa Doubleday via Facebook

The “Muriwai Monster,” a twitching black mass that washed up on Muriwai Beach, 25 miles northwest of Auckland, New Zealand, has taken the world by storm since its discovery about a week ago. Melissa Doubleday, who stumbled upon it while driving by, initially suspected it to be a whale carcass. However, when she shared images of the mysterious “creature,” which was covered in seaweed and wiggling black tendrils with white shells, on social media people around the world began speculating it was a sea monster, a “beach Christmas tree,” or even an alien time travel capsule.

But it turns out that the “Muriwai Monster” is not some fantastical beast straight out of a Harry Potter book. According to experts at the New Zealand Marine Sciences Society, it is merely a large piece of driftwood overrun by a species of gooseneck barnacles called Lepas anatifera.

Photo Credit: Melissa Doubleday via Facebook

While gooseneck barnacles are a type of shellfish, they are the only sessile crustaceans in the world. This means they behave like oysters and produce a cement-like substance that glues them to submerged objects, including ship hulls, piers, and even sea turtles, for their entire life. The crustaceans, considered a delicacy in Spain and Portugal, survive by filtering food particles from the surrounding water through their long, black feeding tentacles. Called peduncles, they can grow as long as 31 inches, which explains the strange, worm-like appearance observed by Doubleday when she first discovered the black mass.

Unfortunately, visitors hoping to witness the twitching beast in real life are out of luck given that the barnacles have now died. All that is left of the “Muriwai Monster” is a putrid smelling “carcass” that will have to be disposed of soon, if locals hope to go anywhere close to the beach.

Photo Credit: Melissa Doubleday via Facebook

This is not the first strange thing to wash ashore in New Zealand in recent times. A 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the island nation this November lifted the seabed by two meters, dramatically altering the landscape and stranding lobsters, abalone, barnacles, seaweed, and other sea life.

Resources: Facebook, zmescience.com,thesun.co.uk, dailymail.co.uk

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barnaclescarcassdisposeddriftwoodfantasticalpedunclesputridsessilespeculatingstrandingsubmergedtendrilstentaclestwitching
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Article Comprehension (7 questions)

  1. What did Melissa Doubleday discover on Muriwai Beach a week ago?
  2. What did she initially believe it to be?

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Just looking at the picture what would you have guessed...

Vocabulary in Context

This means they behave like oysters and produce a cement-like substance that glues them to submerged objects, including ship hulls, piers, and even sea turtles, for their entire life.

In...

444 Comments
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  • hiThursday, February 16, 2017 at 1:05 pm
    people are confusing, how do they think it was an alien time capsule.
    • atra
      atraMonday, February 20, 2017 at 9:51 am
      I don't know
    • UFO Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 12:19 pm
      Crazy scary just crazy
      • awesomerahul101
        awesomerahul101Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at 9:53 am
        Is there bugs i there
        • macpac123
          macpac123Monday, February 6, 2017 at 12:50 pm
          its really intersting
          • sEliSeMonday, February 6, 2017 at 12:02 pm
            You realize that there's a whole article here explaining what the "creature" on the beach is....so read that before making comments such as "What are those worm thinges?" because the information is up there...by the way it's things*^ Those are Gooseneck Barnacles (the article tells you) all you had to do was look. Also it isn't "scary" it's just nature...and driftwood. G'day.
            • hen213
              hen213Monday, February 6, 2017 at 1:36 pm
              good comment sELISE
            • softball_life
              softball_lifeMonday, February 6, 2017 at 11:15 am
              are those worms n it because they really look like worms
              • YOI BOI CHELFriday, February 3, 2017 at 9:03 am
                SO SCARYYYY
                • smile foreverFriday, February 3, 2017 at 8:20 am
                  omg thats scary
                  • jjabrumsFriday, February 3, 2017 at 6:29 am
                    nice
                    • 29dinerwafflesFriday, February 3, 2017 at 5:41 am
                      I have learned many things in this article. First, I learned a strange figure has risen out of the sea 25 miles northwest of Auckland, New Zealand. Second, I also learned that this thing known as the Muriwai Monster. Third, this figure is actually a large piece of driftwood overrun by a species of gooseneck barnacles. They are known as Lepas anatifera. In conclusion, I learned many things in this article.

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