‘I’ve never seen anything like it before: This tops it all’
A Mackay Northern Beaches family has stumbled upon an incredible find while walking along the beach.
Blacks Beach resident Karen Crompton said when her daughter first spotted the eight-armed seastar, it was a case of mistaken identity.
"We were looking and counting the starfish and my daughter said, 'Oh, is that an octopus?'," Ms Crompton said.
The patterned sea critter actually belonged to the genus of seastar known as Luidia maculata, or Southern Sand Star, which likes to bury itself in sand up to 90m deep and can reproduce either asexually or sexually.
But unlike many other seastars which have suckers, the Australian Museum stated the Luidia instead had "tube feet ending in a rounded knob".
"We were watching it for a good 15 minutes," Ms Crompton said.
"As we were walking away, it lifted up one of its tentacles as if it were saying goodbye.
"I've never seen anything like it before. It tops it all."
Ms Crompton said they had also come across sea urchins and a washed-up whale at Blacks Beach as well as a turtle which came out of the water near where they were standing at Eimeo.
The bountiful sea life was a far cry from Ms Crompton's Yorkshire, England roots which she said predominantly featured sheep.
"I think we're very, very lucky and we're so blessed to have the beaches here (in Mackay)," she said.