Coast KZN

07 Feb 2023

Strange creatures found on several KwaZulu-Natal beaches over the weekend identified as salps

Karen Singh (The Mercury: IOL) Picture: Hennie Griessel. Hennie Griessel holds a salp he found washed up on a Richards Bay beach last year.

Durban – The South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR) has identified the “strange creatures” found at several KwaZulu-Natal beaches over the weekend as salps. This comes after SAAMBR received numerous calls enquiring about the creatures which resemble jellyfish. In a statement on Monday, the Association said the sightings over the weekend comes after Hennie Griessel came across the same “strange creatures” while walking with his family along the beach at Richards Bay last year around the same time.

“These ‘strange creatures’ are in fact salps which are free-floating open ocean creatures with brains, hearts, complex nervous, circulatory and digestive systems that propel themselves through the mid-water in long strings or swarms,” said SAAMBR.

“It is possible that they were brought up to the ocean surface by upwelling before strong onshore winds carried them onto the beaches,” it said.

According to SAAMBR, salps are the fastest growing multicellular animal on earth and can grow to maturity in 48 hours.

“If you happen to come across some of these wonderful creatures whilst walking along the shore, we would be grateful if you could take a photo and send it to us. You can either email the photo to us on or alternately send it via Facebook.”

Commenting on the statement on Facebook, a man said salps are very common in Mozambique while others were fascinated by the strange creatures.

Salps were found washed up on a Richards Bay beach last year. Picture: Hennie Griessel

Last November, “The Mercury” reported that dozens of dead jellyfish washed up on a Durban beach. At the time Jone Porter, executive manager at uShaka Sea World Education, said that jellyfish washing ashore was a seasonal occurrence.