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Friday, July 19, 2013

Is Your Swim More Crowded Than Usual?

The Rhode Island Department of Health says the crustacean isopods swarming around local beaches don't pose a health threat.

Swimmers at southern Rhode Island beaches have been finding more than seaweed, rocks, and sand under the water — crowds of tiny crustacean isopods that have hatched and are floating just offshore.

Timothy Coen, beach manager at Sachuest Beach in Middletown, told the Providence Journal that 
he'd found "millions" of the small mollusk-like bugs and alerted the state Department of Health about them.

Quoting Dara Chadwick, spokeswoman for the Health Department, the Journal reported that the critters have been seen at beaches in Narragansett, South Kingstown, Middletown, Newport and North Kingstown.

Chadwick also said that the salt water creatures aren't known to bite people and don't pose a health threat — but recommended that swimmers wash off after leaving the water where the isopods are, since their shells and scales could cause skin irritation.

Editor's note: these critters are sometimes called "sea roaches" or "saltwater pill bugs."