50 years ago, invasive species traveled the Suez Canal | Science News

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50 Years Ago

50 years ago, invasive species traveled the Suez Canal

Excerpt from the March 30, 1968 issue of Science News

By
7:00am, March 23, 2018
Suez shipping canal

ALIEN INVASION  The Suez Canal made it easier for ships and stowaway critters to travel from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea.

Biological invasion via Suez

The Red Sea is invading the Mediterranean.… So far about 140 life-forms, mostly animal and mostly invertebrate, have crossed the Isthmus of Suez.… It is possible that this … will result in the loss of a few native fish and invertebrate populations to stiff competition from the newcomers. — Science News, March 30, 1968

Update

Whether the movement of creatures through the Suez Canal, called the Lessepsian migration, is good or bad has been debated from the time the waterway opened in 1869. The number of species invading the Mediterranean from the Red Sea now tops 400, scientists estimate. Some of these aliens have an unusual way of making the journey. At least 10 species of

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