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Updated: March 11, 2010 16:11 IST

Rare marine species spotted on Vizag coast

Nivedita Ganguly
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A file picture of Visakhapatnam coast. Photo: K.R.Deepak.
A file picture of Visakhapatnam coast. Photo: K.R.Deepak.

In an interesting finding by biologists and environmentalists, a colony of precious and rare marine species were spotted on the Vizag coast, indicating the presence of rich marine life in the region and the need to protect the zone.

Marine species like spiny sea urchins, snails, star fish, rock pool fish, sea anemones, sea cucumbers and puffer fish were found at the rocky shores near VUDA Park.

“It appears to be a positive sign. Since the area is largely undisturbed, it might have spurred a healthy population growth of the marine species,” said M. Ramamurthy, founder-member of Dolphin Nature Conservation Society (DNCS). Owing to low tides and receding of sea water along the coast, the marine creatures have become more conspicuous.

The spiny globular sea urchins feed mostly on algae and are found near rocky shores.

Though they inhabit all oceans, their numbers are said to be on the decline. Their spines are used for decorative items like ash-trays and slate pencils. While at first glance, sea urchins often appear sessile, i.e., incapable of moving, sometimes the most visible life sign is the spines, which attach to ball-and-socket joints and can point in any direction. “They also have a ‘homing instinct'. If dislodged from their places, they tend to return to the same area,” Dr. Ramamurthy said.

In most urchins, touch elicits a prompt reaction from the spines, which converge toward the touch point. Sea urchins have no visible eyes, legs, or means of propulsion, but can move freely over hard surfaces using adhesive tube feet, working in conjunction with the spines.

“The need of the hour is to identify regions rich in marine bio-diversity and marked as protected zones,” he said.

Threat perception

Occurrences of dead marine species like the rare and poisonous puffer fish and eel fish along Vizag coast have alerted nature lovers. Biologists have also pointed out potential threats to endangered marine creatures like the Olive Ridley turtle that are often found dead along the Vizag coast. Researchers of Andhra University and members of DNCS will be conducting a thorough study of the status of endangered marine in the region.

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