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La Velilla beach with the bioluminescence. Ideal
When is the best time to see this natural light show on Granada's Costa Tropical?
Nature

When is the best time to see this natural light show on Granada's Costa Tropical?

The beaches of Almuñécar are among the best places to witness bioluminescence, a phenomenon caused by microscopic marine algae known as 'noctiluca scintillans'

M. J. Arrebola

Almuñécar

Monday, 8 July 2024, 17:05

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La Velilla beach in Almuñécar on Granada's Costa Tropical has witnessed a rare natural spectacle: bioluminescence. The phenomenon is caused by microscopic marine algae known as 'noctiluca scintillans', which literally makes coastlines glow. These single-celled dinoflagellates, which feed on plankton, are responsible for lighting up the coastline from time to time.

The 'noctiluca scintillans' appear as red spots in the water, a natural defensive response that gives the coast this glow and it has been possible to see it on La Velilla beach since Friday 5 July.

Almuñécar town hall has explained that it is not dirt, but red stains that have no negative effects on people or sea life. Locals and tourists alike have mistaken it for red fish roe.

The orange colour of these spots is due to the lipids or fats consumed by noctilucas. Unlike other marine organisms, these algae do not photosynthesise, but feed on organic matter. At night, their brightness can vary. They move with the tides and accumulate on the shore, turning the water orange.

It is a common sight along Granada's coastline and have been seen in recent years on Cantarriján, Salobreña and Torrenueva beaches. The best time to see the bioluminescence is in summer and autumn thanks to warmer temperatures and higher levels of plankton.

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