Living specimen found near the island of Lastovo

May 29, 2021 – Near the island of Lastovo in the Dubrovnik archipelago, a local fisherman discovered a living specimen of the noble feather shell in Croatia.

The title of this text would not have been very interesting a few years ago. Noble seashells are among the most popular bivalves in the Croatian part of the Adriatic. They are popular with scuba divers and snorkelers due to their impressive size and beauty. Sadly, the last year saw a massive disappearance of noble feather shells in Croatia.

It started five years ago in Spain. The mysterious disease has killed almost the entire population of noble seashells in the Mediterranean. Tportal reports, the Croatian Veterinary Institute (HVI) is investigating the causes of the ecological disaster. A parasite called Haplosporidium pinnae in combination with microbacteria is the most likely culprit. According to Zeljko Mihaljevic, pathologist and epidemiologist of HVI, this finding is very reassuring. The southern Adriatic seems to have lost almost all of its noble shell population. All the surviving specimens are very interesting to observe. They could have potentially very important immunity for further research.

Observe and report

He also asked anyone who sees noble pen shells in the Adriatic to check if they are alive. Just run your hand over the shell to close it. It is sensitive to agitation in water. All living specimens must be reported to the Ministry of the Economy and Sustainable Development. Their central contact number is +385 1 3717 111.

The noble pen shell, also known as the fan-shaped mold, can be over a meter long. They usually grow upright on sandy bottoms. It is endemic to the Mediterranean region and the largest bivalve in the Adriatic. They are a good indicator of the cleanliness of the sea. The Croatian government promulgates a program which aims to slowly restore the population to noble pen shells. It will not be an easy or quick process. Diving enthusiasts in Croatia hope to enjoy the sight of these Adriatic darlings once again.

To learn more about the way of life in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN page.

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