Millions of needle-shaped sea creatures found on Dubai beaches

The harmless marine animals have been spotted in huge numbers on sand and in the sea

Millions of needle-shaped marine creatures have appeared on Dubai’s beaches.

The tiny organisms are harmless and non-toxic, Dubai Municipality said on Tuesday.

They belong to the family of sea butterflies, or Creseis Acicula, and look like glass shards.

Measuring between 7.15 and 13.2 millimetres in length, they are protected by their pointed shells.

Although they pose no danger to the public, they can cause discomfort when they stick to the body and prick the skin.

It is the first time the creatures have been found in such large numbers on the emirate’s beaches, Dubai Municipality said.

A sub-category of sea snails, they were first spotted in large clusters washed up on May 15 on Al Shurouq Beach. They die on dry sand when the tide sweeps them to the shore.

Ten days later, millions were spotted alive in the sea in the same area, and along Jumeirah 1 Beach.

After extensive monitoring this week, Dubai Municipality inspectors detected them only outside the swimming areas of Al Shurouq Beach.

A change in marine conditions

The Creseis Acicula species is found mainly in warm waters, and tends to appear after changes in marine conditions such as storms and strong winds, or after sudden alterations in marine currents.

Sharp fluctuations in water temperature, salinity and food availability can also play a part.

Dubai Municipality said it had intensified environmental inspections on all public beaches in the emirate to monitor the extent of their spread, and to collect samples for analysis.

The municipality has also intensified cleaning operations to remove any remnants of the organisms on the beaches, so the public do not suffer any discomfort.

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Updated: June 1, 2021 09:56 PM


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