Australian beachgoers have been left horrified after a swarm of maggots washed onto Sydney shores.
Residents first spotted the insects at Newport and Bilgola beaches last Sunday (January 30) and posted their discoveries to social media. Images show thousands of maggots floating above the water near popular bathing spots.
Bilgola resident Colin Weir noticed the insects just as he was about to plunge into a local rock pool during a recent visit.
"It was disgusting — this moving carpet of white maggots," he told Manley Daily. "I've been going to this beach every year for 15 years and have never seen anything like this.
"One unlucky woman was seen emerging from the water with larvae stuck to her bathing suit," he claimed.
"It has been quite the talk of the beaches this morning. There were millions of them [maggots]," he added.
While the sight may be revolting to humans, the area's seagull population have been enjoying the bonanza and are eagerly swooping down to eat the delicacies.
"You look up the beach and there were about 200 seagulls feeding off them ... it was quite extraordinary," Weir said.
According to council environment manager Ben Taylor, warm weather has resulted in perfect breeding conditions for maggots, who have in turn infested the ocean seaweed.
"Natural beach conditions along with warm weather have contributed to an infestation in the seaweed caused by flies laying larvae," Taylor said.
"Mostly affecting the southern end of (Bilgola) beach, the seaweed has also washed into the rock pool."
The Northern Beaches Council have closed Bilgola beach to deal with the infestation, but nearby Newport beach remains open.
"This is an unfortunate but natural occurrence and we have cleaning crews monitoring and managing the situation," he said.
"We encourage people not to swim in the areas affected and abide by any pool closures. Council will continue to keep an eye on the rock pools and reopen Bilgola as soon as possible."
In 2012, Newport residents awoke to find a 30-tonne humpback whale washed onto the area's local rock pool. Although the whale was only five years old, experts believe an infection of the respiratory tract was to blame for its death.