In Mandal, the poisonous, little dwarf face has appeared on several beaches. -It is the first time we have heard that the species has been found in such shallow water in Norway, says HI researcher Otte Bjelland.
In 2018, dwarf faces were found for the first time in Norwegian waters. It was on a shrimp cruise in the Skagerrak, and shortly afterwards HI was notified of new observations of the rare species.
The dwarf face liver is used from the Canary Islands to Denmark. Now anglers report several discoveries right on the beaches in the Mandal area.
– We have been notified of the findings, and have made our researchers who are now on a cruise along the Sørland coast functional on this, says researcher Anders Jelmert at HI’s research station in Flødevigen.
The small, gifted fish is often hidden in the sand, and thrives at depths between one and 150 meters.
How did it get here?
– This is the first time we have heard that the species has been found in such shallow water in Norway, says researcher Otte Bjelland.
Why the dwarf face has come to Norway, there are no researchers who are sure. The species has previously been found from the Canary Islands to Denmark and its occurrence in southern Norway is thus a modest distribution of habitat.
– If an extra large year class appears in areas near us, then it is possible that individuals find their way into Norwegian waters, says Bjelland.
– Warmer temperatures in the sea may have made it more attractive to move a little further north, he adds.
Accompanied on a cruise
Right now, several HI researchers are on a beach seine cruise along the coast from Hvaler to Lindesnes to investigate the occurrence of different species. The researchers do not pull in an arc out from land and back, and count the fish they get in the net.
So far, my colleagues on a cruise have not had a dwarf face in the net. One third of the cruise remains, and the researchers keep their eyes open for finds of this species, says Jelmert.
He is particularly interested in finding out which way the dwarf faces have taken.
– It is very exciting to find out if they have crossed the Norwegian Channel or followed the coast along Denmark, Sweden and Sørlandet as a dispersal route, the researcher says.
It can be very painful to meet a dwarf face, or Echiichthys vipera as it is called in Latin.
Echiichthys means spiked fish. And like its big brother, the face, it has spikes in the first dorsal fin and on the gill cover that is connected to a gift gland.
– For ordinary healthy people, a sting is not fatal, but you can get pain and swelling, says Jelmert.
– Be aware, and feel free to use bathing shoes if you have to swim on the beaches where the fish are found or locally, he advises.