A universe of anemones and slugs



The so-called intertidal habitats are very characteristic ecosystems of the Canary coasts distributed throughout the archipelagic geography. «Along the Canarian coastline a wide variety of marine organisms develop, some of which define a whole series of rich and varied coastal ecosystems. In the coastal region of each island it is possible to distinguish some areas of rocky substratum, with little slope, a certain extension and whose puddles and stones can host more than 300 species of animals and plants, behaving like true oases of marine life “, say Rubén Ramírez , Fernando Tuya and Ricardo J. Haroun, from the Center for Biodiversity and Environmental Management of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, in the book El Intermareal Canario.

A universe of anemones and slugs Daniel millet


Given this natural wealth, the scientific community warns of the need to protect these spaces because any impact, no matter how minimal, can alter their vital balance. Leopoldo Moro, a biologist with the Biodiversity Service of the Canary Islands Government, asks above all in the interventions to be carried out in the most visited and accessible pools that “the natural mechanism of water renewal is not modified, through waves and tides ”as an“ essential ”requirement to preserve these spaces of human action as much as possible. “The alteration of this process, with the construction of walls or other structures to limit the space of the puddles, can have serious consequences on biodiversity, such as the generation of harmful algae that can enter the food chain and even affect bathers », Leopoldo Moro makes clear.

The Ministry of Tourism clarifies that its Master Plan for Marea de Canarias Puddles does not stipulate altering the dynamics of the water or the appearance of the puddles, but “quite the opposite”: intervening in those already urbanized and highly visited but “only to improve access and environmental protection measures, “says the director of Tourism Infrastructure, Fernando Miñarro.

A universe of anemones and slugs Daniel millet


“If people knew what is under the water and around those pools, they would be surprised,” emphasizes the biologist from the Biodiversity Service, who knows these marine worlds very well. There is a lot of life there. Going into one of them at night with a flashlight, for example, and observing its funds is a spectacular and very revealing experience ”, says Leopoldo Moro.

A universe of anemones and slugs Daniel millet


For this reason, the biologist asks those who visit these natural pools to be very careful. “The diffusion of the enormous natural values ​​of these habitats is the best measure for people to become aware of the need to be respectful with the environment when enjoying it. In any case, there have already been initiatives in that sense and others in development. It is precisely one of the objectives of the recently presented puddle plan.

A universe of anemones and slugs Daniel millet


“The intertidal pools and rocks of our childhood now contain far fewer species. Missing burgados, hermit crabs, limpets, starfish and many other marine creatures that once enriched our excursions through the stones of the coast, ”recall Rubén Ramírez, Fernando Tuya and Ricardo J. Haroun in the aforementioned book published by the Cabildo de Fuerteventura , which continues: «There are also missing in the puddles that are bumpy, potbellied, smooth (or greyhound), white crabs or shrimp that flooded our imagination.

A universe of anemones and slugs Daniel millet


The diver and disseminator Sergio Hanquet agrees on the need to make known to the population that wealth so decisive for the balance of Canarian marine ecosystems. This photographer has been one of the few who have managed to photograph in detail in these puddles, for example, the species known as the blue dragon (Glaucus atlanticus), one of the rarities that appear in the Canarian puddles and very difficult to see as they are their specimens. tiny (they measure just three centimeters). It is a lethal slug for some species. But what is striking is its tail, its blue color and the species of fins that come out of the trunk. One of the many peculiarities hidden in the Canarian puddles.

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