Benidorm Tourists Beware: Over 15 Daily Injuries Due to 'Killer Fish' Bites
Holidaymakers in the Spanish resort town of Benidorm are facing an unexpected menace this summer – a so-called 'killer fish'. The culprit is believed to be the saddled seabream, a small grey fish with a black spot on its fin. Every day, over 15 people are injured after being bitten by these fish.
The Saddled Seabream
The saddled seabream are attracted to moles, warts, or small wounds on the skin, according to the newspaper Información. Older people are particularly susceptible to these biting creatures, which can grow up to 30 centimeters long. The fish suck blood and leave teeth wounds on the arms, legs, and backs of their victims.
The Sudden Surge in Fish Attacks
The sudden surge in saddled seabream attacks is believed to be due to unusually high sea temperatures, reaching around 30 degrees. These temperatures are higher than normal and increase the metabolism of the fish, thereby increasing their appetite, which they are expressing on humans. This temperature phenomenon has been in effect since mid-2017.
The scientific name of this fish species is oblada melanura and it is no stranger to the area. They are often seen around the islet of Tabarca, where people feed them in the harbour. This year, however, the fish are much closer to the shoreline and since they are accustomed to being fed, they are not particularly shy of humans. This has prompted local authorities to advise swimmers not to enter the sea with shiny jewelry, as it can provoke attacks.
Previous Fish Attacks
This is not the first instance of fish biting humans. Three years ago, the blue triggerfish made headlines as 15 bites from the creature were reported on the Côte d'Azur in just three days. However, scientists suspected even then that it was a seabream.