Local marine biologist Alan Deidun has warned of an insidious parasite that is putting the noble pen shell, an endemic species of mussel in Malta, at risk of extinction.
The parasite in question attacks the noble pen shell’s digestive gland, proceeding to starve it out and leading to a potentially fatal situation.
“It would be a severe loss for Mediterranean biodiversity if this iconic species were to be lost forever,” Deidun said.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has put the noble pen shell on its list of critically endangered species.
The noble pen shell, or nakkra in Malta, can reach over one metre in length and can live for over 25 years. Historically, it used to be used to produce sea silk.