Besides the purely physical effect of oiling, flora and fauna can suffer from contact with oil through ecotoxicological and, in some cases, genotoxic phenomena.
The direct effects caused by oil vary from one taxonomic group to another
and within the same taxonomic group, from one species to another.
Furthermore, organisms in the first stages of their development may be more seriously harmed than adults. Within the same species, the eggs, larvae and juveniles are generally more sensitive than the adults.
However, this tendency, which may seem perfectly normal to us, as we are often tempted to see the young as more fragile than adults, is not a hard and fast rule. The larvae of certain segmented worms are more resistant to hydrocarbons than the adults.