The changes in the climate have brought fish, crabs and seaweed of tropical origin to the Balearic shores. Biologists specialising in the sea off the Balearics have noted these changes over the past 25 years. While some cold water fish such as the spur dog, sprat or transparent goby are becoming increasingly rare, a large number of species proper to tropical or sub tropical waters have appeared. This has led biologists to believe that it is due to a warming of the sea related to the change in climate. This was reported in a recent article by marine biologists Antoni Grau and Francesc Riera, published by the Natural History Society of the Balearics. The fish are not just one or two odd samples which may have entered the Mediterranean accidentaly. In the case of fish, the number of tropical or subtropical species now accounts for six per cent of all the known fish in Balearic waters. Grau and Riera mention 22 species which are found very frequently. They include the pufferfish, a poisonous fish similar to the famous fugu of Japan. The fishing authorities of the Balearics have banned its sale because of the danger. Fishermen in Soller catch these species often and some are kept at the Museum of Natural Sciences. Other fish which are being found more frequently include the Pteromylaeus bovinus, only caught once in the last century but now found frequently, and the Pomadasys incisus, which is usually found off the coast of tropical Africa. Others include the Madeira scorpion fish found in Minorca for the first time a few years ago and the trigger fish, which has proliferated since the 1980s and 90s. But the arrival of warm water species is not confined to fish and one of the most spectacular incorporations has been the Caulerpa racemosa seaweed, very similar to the Caulerpa taxifolia, which has also adapted well to Balearic waters. And as to crabs, the subtropical crab Percnon gibbesi suddenly appeared in 1999 and can now be found in many parts of the coast.


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