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Mysterious sea creature dubbed ‘forbidden churro’ baffles beachgoers

A mysterious sea creature has internet sleuths confused after it washed up on a beach in Ireland.

A bizarre image of the long, thin, greyish animal was uploaded to Reddit, with several users offering theories as to what it could be.

The person who found it asked: "Can anyone help me identify this sea creature? Just found it washed up on a beach in Ireland."

Responses have ranged from serious to ludicrous, with one Redditor joking that it's a "forbidden churro", referring to the long, deep-fried cinnamon snack which looks a bit like the creature's elongated and ridged body.

Another suggested it may be a "Goa'uld", a race of sentient parasitic beings from sci-fi series Stargate SG-1.

On a more scientific note, one user suggested that it may not be a creature at all, but rather part of a creature.

They wrote: "That be a sea scorpion's tail."

Similarly, another person said: "I wonder if this wasn't attached to a sting ray."

Several people reckoned that it was a dead or dehydrated "needlefish".

Needlefish, as their name would suggest, are slender marine animals with a single dorsal fin which typically inhabit shallow waters.

However, they tend to be thicker than the mysterious creature.

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Luckily, after much digging and comparing the snap to different aquatic beasts, one person got to the bottom of the mystery.

They wrote: "I think it might be a greater pipefish (Syngnathus acus)."

The person who found the creature replied: "You're right! Just looked that up and it looks identical. Thanks for your help. I don't know much about marine biology and really appreciate it."

Pipefish are a subfamily of small fish which are closely related to both seahorses and seadragons.

The greater pipefish is a mini-species found along the western coast of Britain as well as Ireland, growing up to 18 inches long and weighing around 140 grams.

British Sea Fishing describe them thusly: "Extremely long and slim body. The snout is very long with the mouth located at the end.

"A single dorsal fin is present in the middle of the body and pectoral and tail fins are very small. There is a raised crest above the head.

"The body is rigid and made up of relatively hard scales and ridges which act as a kind of armour to protect the fish.

"Colour is usually a light brown to yellow/green, with 10 – 20 darker stripes along the length of the body."

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