“We can absolutely assure that it was not a shark attack, as various English media have claimed,” a Benidorm town hall spokesman told The Local on Wednesday morning.
The 10-year-old boy was bitten on Tuesday morning while swimming off Poniente beach in the bustling holiday resort, on Spain’s eastern Mediterranean coast.
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The ensuing search for the mystery fish meant the beach was closed for 45 minutes, but was reopened after local police found no trace of the fish.
The resort is popular with British holidaymakers but the town hall source confirmed to The Local that the young bite-victim “was not English”.
The youngster was treated by the beach’s medical staff following the incident but his wound did not need further attention and he was not taken to hospital.
He described the fish as around half a metre long a “grey-greenish colour”.
Speculation mounted as to what the beast could be following the attack, with guesses ranging from a barracuda to a “cookie-cutter shark”, so named for its it's distinctive bite mark.
But Claudio Barría a shark expert at Barcelona’s Institute of Marine Sciences of Barcelona (ICM), told The Local that the boy was most likely bitten by the common bluefish.
Image of a bluefish, the likely culprit according to a Spanish marine expert. Photo: Wikimedia
“From the description given it seems likely that it was a Pomatomus saltatrix (Bluefish), a common fish that can measure between half a meter to a meter in length,” Barría said after seeing the photograph of the bite.