x

Society

Killer-Parasite Decimating the Pinna Clams of the Aegean

April 21, 2019

A parasite of unknown origins is destroying the giant pinna clams of the Aegean Sea, where it has spread from other parts of the Mediterranean. The problem first appeared in 2016 in Spain, where it decimated the population of this endemic Mediterranean shellfish species (Pinna nobilis), which resembles a large mussel. Since that time, the disease has spread to the seas of France and Italy, before reaching the Greek archipelago last summer.

Following repeated reports about dead pinna in several parts of the Aegean, a team of research scientists from the University of Mytilene (Oceanography and Sea Bioscience Dept), the University of Thessaly (Veterinary Department), and the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research examined pinna populations in 13 different sites in the seas around the island of Lesvos, finding mass mortality rates that exceeded 93 pct.

“We reached the conclusion that the mass mortality was caused by a protozoan, a small organism that harms only the pinnas. We do not know how it came here. We suppose that it was carried in the ballast water of ships,” marine ecology scientist Stelios Katsanevakis, who works in the University of Mytilene Oceanography Department, told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency.

Scientists stressed their concern, noting that a fully endemic and iconic Mediterranean species, which can reach up to a meter in length, may be facing the threat of extinction. The Spanish have already classed the pinna as a “critically endangered species” and scientists have focused their efforts on the protection of the existing populations.

Katsanevakis explained that it is not possible to try to kill a parasite in the sea because of the risks that the extermination process poses for other marine organisms. What can be done, he said, is to locate healthy pinna populations and study the environmental conditions, such as combinations of temperature and salinity, that best deter the parasite. Scientists can then try to duplicate these conditions for selected populations of the species, in order to protect them from infection by the parasite and consequently from extinction.

RELATED

ATHENS - Same-sex encounters, especially between men, were common in Greece but that isn't flying now after a short film showed two men going at it at the Parthenon, where 150 cameras will be installed for surveillance.

Top Stories

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

General News

PHILADELPHIA – The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley announced that the Evzones, the Presidential Guard of Greece will be participating in the Philadelphia Greek Independence Day Parade on March 20.

Video

Mission…to Alonnisos, a TNH Documentary

O oceanic you sing and sail White on your body and yellow on your chimeneas For you're tired of the filthy waters of the harbors You who loved the distant Sporades You who lifted the tallest flags You who sail clear through the most dangerous caves Hail to you who let yourself be charmed by the sirens Hail to you for never having been afraid of the Symplegades (Andreas Empeirikos)   What traveler has not been fascinated by the Greek islands, drawn by the Sirens’ song of a traveler’s dreams? TNH and our video show ‘Mission’ marked the change of the season by transporting viewers into the heart of summer.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.