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Sea lice in Phuket no cause for alarm, says marine expert

Sea lice in Phuket no cause for alarm, says marine expert

PHUKET: A local marine-life expert has addressed concerns about the risk of sea lice attacks at Phuket’s beaches after a news report of an Australian teen’s legs being bitten to the point of profuse bleeding went viral around the world on Monday (Aug 7).

tourismmarineanimals
By Shela Riva

Wednesday 9 August 2017, 05:56PM


Marine-life experts say the sea lice in the waters around Phuket are no cause for alarm. Photo: DMCR

Marine-life experts say the sea lice in the waters around Phuket are no cause for alarm. Photo: DMCR

“Sea lice in Phuket’s waters have never been recorded to harm anyone to any serious extent, or attack in big groups, ” Vararin Vongpanich, a marine biologist at the Phuket Marine Biological Centre (PMBC), told The Phuket News today (Aug 9).

“Yes, we have sea lice from the same genus, but the species most likely varies from that in Australia,” she said.

“They are recorded to normally feed on roots, or pieces of plants, not necessarily meat. But if there is an open wound or blood, any animal that is weak may also be attracted to it,” she said.

“Otherwise, I wouldn’t be concerned as we have never received reports of sea lice biting someone to the point of bleeding,” Ms Vararin added.

Meanwhile, local officials from the Department of Marine Coastal Resources (DMCR) has warned swimmers to beware of box jellyfish in the Andaman Sea the species was spotted in the waters off Trang province in July.

The DMCR warned in a public notice posted last Friday (Aug 4) that the box jellyfish may prove deadly within minutes if stings cover 50% or more of the human body.

However, DMCR officials told The Phuket News today (Aug 9) they have not received any reports of box jellyfish in the waters around Phuket.

Phuket lifeguards last Tuesday warned of Portuguese man-o-war washing ashore Nai Yang Beach on Phuket’s northwest coast. However, there have been no subsequent reports of those stingers at any Phuket beaches. (See story here.)

Additional reporting by Tanyauk Sakoot

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