Swimmers in fear: poisonous carnivores in the sea


They look quite harmless, but you should still avoid contact with fireworms. They are currently spreading in the Mediterranean Sea. They are particularly common on the coasts around Italy – thanks to warm sea temperatures they are in danger of becoming a terror to swimmers this summer.

Voracious and carnivorous, they have no enemies, can regenerate themselves and have dangerous stings: the fireworms are multiplying in the Mediterranean thanks to warm sea temperatures and threaten to become a terror for swimmers this summer. Experts in Italy are now investigating why these animals multiply so quickly.

Heat waves as a trigger for invasion
The summer heat waves of the past three years are thought to have caused fireworms (Hermodice carunculata) to spread enormously in the seas of the southern Italian regions of Sicily, Apulia and Calabria.

Fishing work is threatened
They have therefore become an invasive species that poses a threat to the animals living in marine protected areas, including corals, and to the work of fishermen. The sea animal, which can grow up to 30 centimeters in size, can be found in the Mediterranean Sea, especially on hard floors and in seagrass meadows. You can also encounter the fireworm on sand.

Burning pain, redness and swelling of the skin
The white bristles serve for defense and contain a neurotoxic secretion. When you touch the fireworm, which resembles a colorful centipede, the bristles penetrate the skin. And because they break off very quickly, they are very difficult to pull out again. Burning pain, redness of the skin and swelling are the result. Some people even react with dizziness and nausea.

“We have managed to isolate an irritant, but we are far from thinking of possible remedies for stings,” emphasizes Roberto Simonini, a physicist at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, according to media sources.

Fishermen who come into contact with fireworm hairs complain of wounds that often require treatment with cortisone. If you don’t have cortisone ointment on hand, you can disinfect the affected area with alcohol or vinegar, the researchers explained.

Source: Krone


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