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Invasive species found – it is unclear whether it should be called sea spit

The species Didemnum vexillum looks like a yellowish, champagne mixture.
The species Didemnum vexillum looks like a yellowish, champagne mixture.

Portsickness, seasickness or perhaps seasickness?

It is not clear what it will be called – but now the invasive species has been found in Sweden.

– I will not taste it, says the discoverer.

Annette Helberg is a nature guide at Naturum Kosterhavet.

When she was diving in Kosterhavet National Park off the coast of Bohuslän in search of algae for the Naturum Aquarium, she saw something unusual:

– It does not happen often that I meet something at sea that I do not know, says Annette.

I brought up the find, which after DNA analysis turned out to be a sea urchin. At least that’s what it has been called so far the few times it’s been mentioned on Swedish sites. The scientific name for this form of Japanese sea urchin is Didemnum vexillum.

– The trivial Swedish name has not yet been accepted. In Norwegian it is called “havnspye”, meaning harbor spya. Last year, Annette Helberg said Swedish researchers called her “Japanese Sea Spy”.

She herself believes that it “is like vomiting”:

– It looks really unappetizing, Annette notes.

The name comes from the fact that the species looks like a yellow, champagne mixture. The problem with these invasive species is that they form dense mats that suffocate everything in their path. According to Havet.nu.

In the Netherlands, the species covers 95 percent of the seabed in the coastal province of Zeeland. In Norway, the naval spy was found in Engøysundet outside Stavanger in 2020, and has since spread. A marine spiae colony can grow 11 times in two weeks, according to hadet.nu.

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Sadly, it is now in Swedish waters. It’s a bit scary feeling, says Annette Helberg.

But just because it spreads so quickly in some places, it’s not certain that it will happen in Sweden.

– You acted differently in different places. In some cases, Helberg says, it did not spread for a long time, and in others it spread quickly over large areas.

It urges anyone who sees the species to photograph it, take GPS coordinates with their mobile phone and report the discovery on the reporting site rap music.