Invasive Pulsing Xenia Wreaks Havoc in Venezuela | Reef Builders


A well-liked aquarium coral has reached plague proportions off the North coast of Venezuela, threatening ecosystems and even lowering native fish shares, because it invades and overgrows every part in its path. We all know it within the aquarium commerce as Pulsing Xenia, Xenia elongata, but its name was revised in 2021, to Unomia stolonifera primarily based on the specimens collected from Venezuela, not its native Indo-Pacific. It’s believed to have grow to be established within the Caribbean following its introduction by the aquarium commerce and was first discovered by marine biologist Juan Pedro Ruiz-Allais in 2007. The primary scientific report on the invader was printed in 2014 when it went on to colonize a lot of the 94,000-hectare Mochima Nationwide Park earlier than spreading east and west into the Caribbean Sea. The equivalent of 300 football fields of it is growing off the northern state of Anzoategui. Ruiz-Allais describes the invasive coral as an “ecological disaster” and has arrange Undertaking Unomia to unfold consciousness and attempt to deal with it.  

Pulsing Xenia is gorgeous and well-liked due to its pulsating polyps, however lethal when launched into the improper surroundings.

How one can deal with invasive Unomia

It’s believed to be being unfold by way of fishing nets, anchors, and ships’ ballast water, though makes an attempt at handbook eradication might also unfold floating fragments, and is being suggested in opposition to. Us reef aquarists know just how invasive it can be, and can attest it to overgrowing LPS corals and even growing on SPS and other soft corals. When a patch turns into overcrowded it merely releases polyp clusters into the water column, grows sideways or, because the report says, may be unfold by our personal efforts at handbook removing. Sadly, no matter fish and cellular inverts maintain it in test within the Indo-Pacific will not be current within the Caribbean, and together with non-native Volitans Lionfish, and Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease, this invasive coral is yet one more menace to the native natural world of the Caribbean and wider Atlantic. It’s going to take greater than a Reef Delete to manage this pest, and Undertaking Unomia is engaged on an extraction machine, which is awaiting authorities approval.  

This map reveals the vary of the Unomia invasion in 2021.

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