Giant cuttlefish have been washing up on Newcastle beaches.
The creatures are known as the “rock stars of the ocean” because they live fast and die young.
They have a lifespan of only two to four years. And when they spawn, death often follows.
The washed-up bones of these creatures of the deep often show teeth marks of dolphins, sharks, birds and fish.
Giant cuttlefish are also masters of disguise – when they’re alive, that is.
“They can change colour in an instant and, by raising parts of their skin, they can also change shape and texture to imitate rock, sand or seaweed,” the Australian Museum says.
“These displays have various interpretations to other marine creatures and may be used for camouflage, mating or even hypnotising prey.”
Bar Beach’s David Cossettini came across giant cuttlefish bones on his morning jog along the Merewether to Bar Beach stretch.
“I look at what the ocean washes up each day,” said David, who’s a highly-rated sports massage therapist. (Topics hears he has healing hands).
Of the cuttlefish bone, David said: “I’ve never seen one that big”.
When they’re alive, giant cuttlefish look like a cross between a squid and an octopus. Their fins ripple with the tide, mesmerising divers, not to mention prey.
“They’re amazing creatures,” David said.
But not everyone likes them.
“I had a local fisherman who said he’s had a few hassles with them, off Swansea Heads,” he said.
“He was catching rock cod, pulling them up to the surface and they’re shredded. He reckons it’s the giant cuttlefish that are doing it.”
Maybe it was a young male cuttlefish. They’re known as schemers.
Sometimes they’ll change their appearance to mimic females and confuse a rival. Then they move in to steal their rival’s female partner.
David also spotted some strange worm-like creatures on the beach.
“The worms were moving,” he said.
“It looked like they were attached to pipi shells. They were also attached to a piece of driftwood.
“I’ve surfed that stretch for 35 years and I’ve never seen anything like it.”
One of his mates said the scientific name for this creature was Wormus Pipithingus.
Seriously though, Topics wonders what they are. A quick online search proved fruitless.
David feels blessed to live so close to the Merewether-Bar Beach stretch.
“It’s a sensational spot. I make sure I take advantage of it,” he said.
“On the Anzac walk, I’m always catching people out looking at the houses, rather than the other way. They’re all looking at the million-dollar homes. There’d be a pod of 40 dolphins in front of ‘em and they wouldn’t know it. I have to remind them, ‘the ocean’s this way, folks’.”
When the sun rises, he heads out for a jog, walk or surf.
Often there’s no one else on the beach, even on beautiful mornings.
It leaves him wondering, “where’s the rest of Newcastle?”.
“It’s madness. They’re all out chasing dollars, I think.”
Ian King from Warners Bay said he was interested to read our piece on nicknames of coalminers.
“Maybe the following are worth a mention, although they have nothing to do with mining,” Ian said.
“One of my grandsons is called The Sponge because he absorbs everything he is told.
“I once worked with a bloke they called Canary because he was always whistling while he worked.
“Another bloke I knew was called Brittanica because he was a real know-all.
“Haemorrhoid was the nickname given to a lady customer where I used to work because she was always complaining about something. She was a pain in the bum.”
Send your nickname stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.