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Tsunami-riding Japanese sea creatures are attacking American coastal waters by Richard Gray October 14,2012   |  Source: The Daily Telegraph

Sea creatures found to be hitchhiking on debris swept across the Pacific Ocean by the Japanese tsunami pose a threat to sealife in Canada and the United States.

It flattened entire towns, washed away harbours and triggered a nuclear emergency.

Now the devastating tsunami that hit Japan following the earthquake off the coast last year is having a more subtle and unexpected impact — 5,000 miles away on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.

Debris washed out to sea by the waves that swept the Japanese coast is beginning to be washed ashore in America, carrying with it large numbers of hitchhikers that could pose a threat to the local sea life.

Scientists fear the exotic sea creatures will establish themselves, killing native species or competing against them for food.

Researchers have identified almost 60 species of sea creature normally found only in the shallow water around Japan that have made their way on floating debris to the western shores of America and Canada.

Among those of most concern is a highly predatory starfish, the Northern Pacific seastar, a shallow-water species that consumes other shellfish and is considered to be among the 100 worst invasive species in the world.

After the seastar was unintentionally introduced into Tasmania, probably from

 

© 2012 Business Insider, Inc.

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