WARM sea temperatures have been encouraging certain types of fish to nibble on surprised Benidorm bathers on Spain’s Costa Blanca.

Around 15 people a day have recently been treated on the city’s Poniente beach for bites caused by a small grey fish- oblada melanura- also known as saddled seabream.

They target bathers who may already have moles, small wounds and warts on their skin, which are more prevalent among older people.

One piece of advise being given to swimmers is to avoid wearing any kind of jewellery that might attract the attention of the saddle seabream.

It can reach about 30 cms and can draw blood and leave teeth marks on victims.

There is nothing life-threatening but the nibbles still come as a shock to swimmers and is a sign of fish coming closer to shore with water temperatures reaching 30 degrees according to Alicante University’s Laboratory of Climatology.

Professor Alfonso Ramos said: “With warmer seas, the metabolism of fish grows and they need more food.”

The oblada melanura tends to be a more aggressive fish species and is well known to day-trippers to Tabarca island between Alicante and Santa Pola where tourists feed them.

Alfonso Rams commented: “This is a fish that’s used to being fed with a high population density and they don’t flee from people and pick out warts and wounds to bite at.”

Numerous fish species from traditionally warmer areas like the Red Sea are coming through the Suez Canal and are now discovering the delights of the Mediterranean, say experts.

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