Bizarre ‘sea worms’ found in Russia’s Far East

Nereocystis luetkeana

Nereocystis luetkeana

Maxim Antipin
Locals were horrified by the strange entities, but it turns out they’re more algae than alien.

It sounds likes something out of a horror movie: Sea worms attack Russia!

People living on the Chukotka Peninsula in the country’s remote Far East have been baffled by mysterious brown forms in the ocean for some time - so too sailors in the Bering Sea. Some thought they were an anthropogenic mutation of sorts, and you can see why: They look a little like a Chestburster from the Alien film.

In fact, it turns out the creepy entities are something less exciting: They’re a kind of algae known as Nereocystis luetkeana. They originate from the Pacific coast of North America, so they’ve come a long way. The algae can grow up to 25 m long and 20 cm in diameter, and cling to rocks and the seabed. During December the weed is swept to other parts of the world.

Algae can grow up to 25 m long and 20 cm in diameter

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