The creation of artificial reefs is often undertaken without regard for the possible consequences. That was the case in the artificial reef in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, pictured above.

700,000 tires were dropped into the ocean in the 1972, but they never attracted ocean wildlife as hoped. And, it turns out, instead of saving coral, the deteriorating tires are damaging the natural reef.

Now, the New York Times is reporting a species of worm-snail that may never have been seen before has somehow turned up in an artificial reef. This reef also happens to be in Florida, in the Florida Keys, about 200 miles south-west of the Fort Lauderdale reef.

In 2014, divers found three of these worm-snails in the Florida Keys reef. Now there are thousands.

If they spread to other places, the worm-snails could damage the region’s living coral. Similar worm-snails found in the Pacific and Red Sea have been found to slow coral reef recovery by killing coral tissue and chasing off fish with their mucus.

A researcher described the destruction caused by similar worm snails, saying, “[w]hen you have them in the living reef, there’s always this kind of death zone around them.”

You can read the full article here.