See the 'alien log' covered in unusual sea creatures that's capturing attention in New Zealand

Pelagic or smooth gooseneck barnacles attached themselves to a log that washed up on a New Zealand beach.

PAPAMOA BEACH, New Zealand – What has thousands of legs and sits on the beach? The "alien log" is what a New Zealand beachcomber dubbed this log covered in unusual sea creatures.

"Yuck," you can hear her say as she touches the feathery end of one before it retreats into its shell.

The unusual sea creatures on the log are pelagic or smooth gooseneck barnacles. Each log appendage is a separate animal. The fleshy stalk or peduncle grows between 1.5 and 30 inches long, and it attaches to floating debris, in this case, a log. But it can attach to anything in the ocean, like boats and plastic trash, according to NOBANIS, the European Network on Invasive Alien Species.

At the end of the stalk is the capitulum, which is the body covered by shell plates, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s website. The feathery or fuzzy tentacles are exposed when feeding. For protection, the arms pull back, and the five shell plates close around them like a flower. The entire body is usually 1.5 to 2 inches long.

The Marine Life Information Network site says the feeding tentacles usually only come out when the creature is underwater. So it is unusual that this beachgoer could touch them while they were high and dry on land.

NOBANIS states that the barnacles are most abundant in tropical and subtropical waters but can travel to other places on floating debris and boats.

These small barnacles don’t have much meat. But their larger cousin, gooseneck barnacles in intertidal zones, are a delicacy in Spain and Portugal, according to Saveur magazine. The foodie favorite printed a gooseneck barnacle with a lemon recipe from a New York City restaurant. Saveur states that the meat tastes like briny clams and can be used in recipes for lobster.