The title of this text would not be very interesting just a few years ago. Noble pen shells are some of the most beloved bivalves of the Croatian part of the Adriatic. They are popular with scuba divers and snorkelers because of their impressive size and beauty. Unfortunately, last year saw a massive dying-off of noble pen shells in Croatia.
It started five years ago in Spain. The mysterious disease killed off almost the entire population of noble pen shells in the Mediterranean. Tportal reports, Croatian Veterinary Institute (HVI) is researching the causes of the ecological disaster. A parasite called Haplosporidium pinnae in combination with micro bacteria is the most likely culprit. According to Zeljko Mihaljevic, pathologist and epidemiologist of HVI, this discovery is very reassuring. The Southern Adriatic seems to have lost virtually its entire population of noble pen shells. Any surviving specimens are very interesting to observe. They might have immunity that is potentially very important for the continuation of the research.
Observe and Report
He also went on to ask anyone who spots any noble pen shells in the Adriatic to check if they are alive. Simply passing your hand over the shell should make it close. It is sensitive to the commotion in the water. Any living specimen should be reported to the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development. Their central contact number is +385 1 3717 111.
Noble pen shell, also known as fan mussel, can be over a meter in length. They usually grow upright on sandy bottoms. It is endemic to the Mediterranean region and the biggest bivalve in the Adriatic. They are a good indicator of sea cleanliness. The Croatian government is enacting a program that aims to slowly re-establish the population of noble pen shells. It will not be an easy nor a quick process. Diving lovers in Croatia are hoping to once again enjoy the view of these darlings of the Adriatic.
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