El erizo diadema or long-spined sea urchin (Diadema antillarum), that is characterised by its black colour and long barbs, is reported this week to have practically disappeared from the coastal waters of Lanzarote.
Recent studies have suggested that this has been caused by an undetermined disease that has caused the seabed to change abruptly in less than five months.
The disappearance of these macroinvertebrates is suggested to be responsible for blanquizales or a serious loss of biodiversity and a balance of algae communities typical of the Canary Islands, but these have increased in recent months.
Studies conducted in other years by the Government of the Canary Islands indicate that this is caused by a bacterium, and in this case, one that is very aggressive.
The reason for this aggressiveness or the cause is not known, but naturalist Rafael Mesa highlights the unusual temperature of the seawater. “Until two weeks ago, the water temperature did not rise above 20ºC.”
These striking changes are not good for marine ecosystems in a seabed where algae flourishes, but not long-spined sea urchins.
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