A dog walker in Wales happened upon an "alien-like" goldmine when he spotted thousands of white-shelled creatures clinging to a washed up tree trunk in Gwynedd, North-West Wales.
It turned out that the mysterious creatures were actually Gooseneck barnacles, a culinary delicacy, which can fetch around £80 per kilo, reports NorthWalesLive.
Dave McGirr was on holiday when he was so struck by what he saw clinging to the 21ft tree trunk that, being a keen photographer, he immediately began taking photos.
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He then looked up his findings on Google, and was aghast when the search revealed that the barnacles were a highly sought after seafood.
“Dave said: "I found out they are Gooseneck barnacles, described as rare 'alien-like' sea creatures.
“They are said to be a delicacy, selling for more than £80 a kilo.”
Two years ago, someone else had also discovered a similar haul covered with around 2,000 barnacles and was thought to be worth a small fortune.
Dave did not think to try and flog his interesting find and moved on to Snowdonia shortly after taking the snaps.
“At the time I posted the photos on Facebook without thinking them particularly newsworthy,” he said.
He was also wary of "creating a stampede."
The rare species of barnacle are enjoyed in countries such as Portugal and Spain, where they are called percebes with prices rising to up to £300 per kilo.
They are often compared in flavour to lobster and clam.
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Each barnacle is worth around £2, which would make Dave's find worth up to around £5,000.
Dave’s photos did the rounds on social media but many believed the creatures look strange enough to be from another planet.
“Aliens have landed!!” said one woman while others urged him to “get collecting!”
Dave, a retired sales manager from south Staffordshire and regular visitor to North Wales, said he would probably turn down the chance to sample his findings.
“When you get close, you can see they are like small octopuses, or squid,” he said.
“They have tiny tentacles that reach out from their shells. I’ve never tried eating them and, having now seen them, I’m not sure I’d want to try.”
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