Mysterious Creature Washed Ashore Earns Comparisons to ‘Dune’ Sandworms


A beachgoer in the U.K. found a horrifying worm-like creature, roughly the size of a small child, and it’s earning comparisons to the infamous Dune sandworms.

26-year-old Will Miles made the startling discovery at a beach in Exmouth, England. The warehouse employee was taking a relaxing walk after work when he suddenly happened upon the monstrous creature.

“It was like a hugely oversized leech with a sucker full of sharp, inward-pointing teeth,” Miles recounted to The Daily Mail. “’It was very noticeable, lying in the center part of the beach near the tideline.”

Miles estimated the creature was about two feet in length. After summoning his courage, he approached and realized the creature was in fact a sea lamprey, nicknamed “vampire fish” for their singular appearance. The creatures were once tremendously common in the U.K., but numbers have radically decreased in recent years due to man-made barriers in the sea, as well as low water quality.

“I was very surprised,” Miles said. “I’d never seen one washed up before and expected I never would.”

Is this the real-life Dune sandworm? Blood-sucking ‘vampire’ creature with mouth full of swirling teeth is found on a beach in Devon

— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) March 29, 2024

After sharing his discovery to a Facebook group, many commenters noticed a similarity between the beached creature and the sandworms from Dune. “Is this on Arrakis?” one joked in reference to the planet on which Dune is set.

A vast number took to calling the lamprey “Shai-Hulud,” which is the name given to the sandworms by Arrakis natives. “So that’s where Frank Herbert got his sandworms from,” mused another.

Is this the real-life Dune sandworm? Blood-sucking ‘vampire’ creature with mouth full of … via @MailOnline

— CHERYL KNOKE, (@Cakt53Cheryl) March 29, 2024

Last year, marine biologist Jarco Havermans discovered a “vampire fish” on Texel, a Dutch island that hadn’t seen a sea lamprey for over six years. At the time, he explained a bit more about the species’ life cycle.

“For five years they live embedded in the bottom [of the ocean] where they filter-feed detritus,” Havermans said. “After these five years, they metamorphose into an adult sea lamprey, which migrates to sea to live as a parasitic fish species on larger fish species and whales. For reproduction, they migrate back to the rivers.”

Sea lamprey’s prey rarely survive, which is how they earned their macabre nickname. After they attach themselves to a host, which the “vampire fish” accomplishes by digging with their razor-sharp tongue through the fish’s scales, they release an enzyme which prevents the blood from clotting. Each is capable of killing creatures up to 40 pounds.

In America, they’re found in their native Atlantic Ocean but are especially prolific in the Great Lakes. Aside from catfish, the rare Northern pike is the sea lamprey’s only predator.

Though undoubtedly a terrifying part of the food chain, it seems unlikely that the “vampire fish” will be getting its own sandworm-style popcorn bucket anytime soon.


Absolutely horifying you guys have to look at it too ? #eel #aquarium #aquariums #greatlakes #greatlakesaquarium #lampreyeel #fish #fishes #fyp #fy #foryou #foryoupage

♬ Weak for Your Love – Thee Sacred Souls

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