Expert warns of Red Sea urchins in Mediterranean

Published 05.11.2019 17:41
Updated 20.12.2019 01:28
Sea urchins can be distinguished by their long, black spines. ?HA Photo
Sea urchins can be distinguished by their long, black spines. (?HA Photo)

Just as Turkey's Mediterranean region looks for ways to fight the invasive poisonous toadfish, experts are warning of a new threat: Diadema setosum, a type of sea urchin that arrived en masse from the Red Sea in recent years.

Professor Mehmet Gökoğlu of Antalya's Akdeniz University said the creature is not lethal but emits a pain-inducing poison upon contact, warning divers and swimmers, especially on rocky shores.

He said the species continued spreading through the Aegean and Mediterranean seas after they migrated from the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea to the Mediterranean due to increasing water temperatures.

Lately, their population has increased near Antalya’s popular beach Konyaaltı.

“It is different than sea urchins native to Turkish waters. They are black and have long spines and emit light in the shape of stars,” he said.

Gökoğlu said the sea urchin exclusively lives near rocky shores, not sandy beaches, and urged swimmers and divers to wear protective gear.

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