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The specimens of Scorpaenodes arenai stranded on the shore of the Strait of Messina. 

The specimens of Scorpaenodes arenai stranded on the shore of the Strait of Messina. 

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New records of the rare Messina rockfish Scorpaenodes arenai (Scorpaenidae) stranded on the Sicilian coast of the Strait of Messina (central Mediterranean Sea) are reported. Morphometric and meristic characters are given together with information on age data. The first underwater observations by ROV in different Mediterranean areas contributed to i...

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Context 1
... specimens were identified as S. arenai according to Torchio (1962), Eschmeyer (1969), Hureau and Litvinenko (1986) and Bauchot (1987). Images of stranded specimens were taken by digital camera ( Figure 1); morphometric measurements were made to the nearest 0.1 mm by a caliper, and mass to the nearest 0.01 g; and meristic data were recorded. Sex was determined by macroscopic observation of gonads, and a maturity stage of development was assigned according to a five-point maturity scale (Holden & Raitt 1974). ...
Context 2
... Mediterranean Sea is a region of high biodiversity, with about 17,000 species censused (Coll et al. 2010). However, being a semi-closed basin, the Mediterranean ecosystem has a complex equilibrium, with several environmental and human factors that interact and in fl uence its biodiversity. In particular, the pressure of climate change and anthropic activities (e.g., fi shing, maritime traf fi c, industrial activities, etc.) determined strong impacts on marine species and habitats. The monitoring of the status and possible changes of Mediterranean biodiversity is, therefore, an important issue to be implemented. The discovery of new species and the fi nding of non-indigenous species or new records of rare species are important sources of information. In the Mediterranean, Sicilian and Tunisian waters are known as high-diversity hot spots for ray- fi nned fi sh (Coll et al. 2010). In particular, the Strait of Messina has long been considered an important area hosting rare and deep-sea species whose stranding makes them avail- able for taxonomic studies (Genovese et al. 1971; Berdar et al. 1977, 1983; Spalletta et al. 1995). In this paper, the worthy nding of four stranded specimens of the Messina rock fi sh Scorpaenodes arenai Torchio, 1962 (Fam.: Scorpaenidae) is reported, along with underwater observation of this species in different areas of the central Mediterranean Sea. This rare, poorly known species (Spalletta et al. 1995) is the only member of genus Scorpaenodes in the Mediterranean Sea. The new records and underwater observations contribute to improve current knowledge on S. arenai , particularly on geographical distribution and habitat preference. A specimen of 108.9 mm total length (TL) was found stranded on the shore of the Strait of Messina on 13 April 2012. Additional individuals of 70.6, 102.1 and 56.5 mm TL were collected on 12 November 2012, 18 March 2013 and 27 March 2013, stranded in the same area (Table I). Other specimens were observed by means of Pollux 3 , a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) equipped with a Nikon D80 camera, in four sites of the Central Mediterranean Sea (Table I). Rock sh were photographed and lmed during daytime hours (from 11:26 to 17:15) to acquire diagnostic characters for species identi fi cation. All specimens were identi fi ed as S. arenai according to Torchio (1962), Eschmeyer (1969), Hureau and Litvinenko (1986) and Bauchot (1987). Images of stranded specimens were taken by digital camera (Figure 1); morphometric measurements were made to the nearest 0.1 mm by a caliper, and mass to the nearest 0.01 g; and meristic data were recorded. Sex was determined by macroscopic observation of gonads, and a maturity stage of development was assigned according to a fi ve-point maturity scale (Holden & Raitt 1974). All stomachs were empty. Sagittal otoliths were removed, cleaned and stored dry. Both left and right otoliths were measured to the nearest 0.01 mm with a Zeiss Discovery V8 stereomicroscope coupled with AxioVision digital image processing software, and age readings were carried out on left sagittae after immersion in a mixture of alcohol and glycerin for about 20 hours. Stranded specimens were preserved in alcohol 80° and are deposited within the ISPRA (Institute for Environmental Protection and Research) ichthyologic collection held in the Laboratory of Milazzo ( fi sh codes: ISPRA-SCO-ARE-01, ISPRA-SCO-ARE-02, ISPRA- SCO-ARE-03 and ISPRA-SCO-ARE-04). Morphometric measurements and proportions of S. arenai are reported in Table II, whereas meristic and biological data are summarized in Table III. The stranded specimens had a slightly compressed short body, with a prominent snout and large mouth, lacking palatine teeth. Head spines were well devel- oped, including fi ve suborbital spines on each side and two interorbital spines. Coronal spines were absent. Dorsal fi ns were made up of 13 hard rays and 10 soft rays. The caudal fi n had rounded mar- gins. The fi rst hard ray of the ventral fi n was very short, whereas the second one was longer and thicker than the others. The color was generally reddish-orange with a pale abdomen. The body was crossed by about six vertical reddish-brown bars, and fi ns were pale with vertical rows or concentric rings of red spots. The mouth showed a whitish color inside. The eye had a dark iris, with brownish radial bands. A black blotch was located between the eighth and eleventh rays of the dorsal fi n in three specimens (it is lacking in ISPRA-SCO-ARE-03). Based on the annulation pattern in sagittal otoliths, age estimates ranged between 2 and 5 years. The identi cation of S. arenai by ROV underwater observations was carried out using images and video analysis. In some images, it was possible to observe a dorsal fi n with 13 spines, different from Scorpaena spp. that have 12 spines. Moreover, supraopercular tentacles on the head of S. arenai were very small and not evident, differently from other Mediterranean scorpaenids shes. Large aps and body ...

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Citations

... ROV explorations also allowed the observation of some rare or poorly known fish species, such as Scorpaenodes arenai, Gadella maraldi, Hyporthodus haifensis and Myliobatis aquila (Battaglia et al., 2015). Also, the occurrence of the whip-like gorgonian Viminella flagellum is worthy of note because it forms dense monospecific forests or 'deep coral gardens' on the Graham Bank. ...
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In 2015, the Strait of Sicily, which includes several banks, was candidate as a future Specially Protected Area of Mediterranean Importance (SPAMI) by the Contracting Parties of the Barcelona Convention. In this context, the present study aims to provide the first biological and ecological characterisation of this poorly known area, focusing on habitats and species of conservation concern. Surveys were carried through a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and allowed the identification of 19 habitat types, mostly considered of priority interest by the SPA/BD Protocol of the Barcelona Convention. A total of 269 taxa were also identified, mostly Porifera, Cnidaria and Pisces, among which 115 species are of conservation concern according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red Lists, the Habitats Directive, the Bern Convention, the SPA/BD Protocol and CITES. ROV surveys allowed some interesting observations on poorly known species and habitats. Results underlined that remarkable discrepancies in species conservation status assessment that exist between the several lists of protected species considered. The IUCN Red Lists, although not legally binding for European States, are the most complete, but, in spite of this, the conservation policies in the EU are largely focused on the Habitats Directive, which is really not exhaustive. An exhaustive and legally binding instrument to protect species of conservation concern at European scale is highly recommended. Acquired results could be useful for the delimitation of a future SPAMI or a network of Marine Protected Areas (including the investigated banks) and the identification of zones within them suitable for different area-based management measures.
... In the past, several scientists examined stranded ichthyofauna from the Strait, providing descriptions of this phenomenon (Berdar, Cavaliere, Cavallaro, Giuffrè, & Potoschi, 1983;Berdar, Cavallaro, Giuffrè, & Potoschi, 1977;Genovese et al., 1971;Guglielmo et al., 1995;Longo, 1882;Mazzarelli, 1909;Scotto di Carlo et al., 1982;Spalletta et al., 1995). Recently, other authors extended the knowledge of the biology and ecology of mesopelagic fish (Battaglia, Malara, et al., 2015;Battaglia et al., 2010Battaglia et al., , 2016Cavallaro, Mammola, & Verdiglione, 2004;Cavallaro et al., 2015;Romeo, Pedà, Fossi, Andaloro, & Battaglia, 2016) as well as of rare and poorly known deep-sea species (Battaglia, Ammendolia, Esposito, Romeo, & Andaloro, 2014;Battaglia, Ammendolia, Romeo, & Andaloro, 2012;Battaglia, Ammendolia, Romeo, Esposito, & Andaloro, 2013;Battaglia, Canese, et al., 2015;Cavallaro, Ammendolia, Andaloro, & Battaglia, 2017). However, to date, the stranding of mesopelagic fauna has never been quantified and analysed in order to test the influence of environmental parameters upon this phenomenon. ...
Article
The shore stranding of mesopelagic fauna is a recurrent phenomenon in the Strait of Messina (Central Mediterranean Sea). The aim of this paper is to test the influence of lunar phases, winds and seasons upon the frequency of occurrence of strandings of mesopelagic fish. Species abundance in relation to these factors was quantified for the first time. Specimens were collected stranded on the shore along the Sicilian coast of the Strait of Messina between 2008 and 2016. Overall 32 species belonging to seven families (Gonostomatidae, Microstomatidae, Myctophidae, Paralepididae, Phosichthyidae, Sternoptychidae, Stomiidae) were found stranded. Myctophidae was the family including the highest number of species (16), whereas Gonostomatidae was the most abundant in terms of total number of individuals (47.2%), mainly thanks to the species Cyclothone braueri. The moon, which influences the strength of currents (highest during full and new moon phases) and irradiance (higher in some lunar phases, such as the full moon), affected the abundance of stranded mesopelagic fish in the study area. The highest number of stranding events was recorded during the new moon: 34.6% of the total relative abundance of stranded mesopelagic fish. Wind blowing from the sea towards the coastline (southeasterly and easterly winds) created the best conditions for strandings. The highest abundance of stranded specimens was recorded during the winter season.
... Moreover, the whole Strait of Sicily was recognized at international level as an Ecologically or Biologically Significant Area (EBSA) by the Contracting Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2014 (COP12, October, 2014, Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea). In addition, in 2015 during the second RAC/SPA (Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas), experts started the review of the existing literature on the Strait of Sicily [6,9,10,11,12,16,17,18,19,20,21] to assess the possibility of creating one or more Specifically Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance (SPAMIs) including these banks. Overall, these environments are poorly investigated owing to difficulties in carrying out scientific surveys and investigations in areas characterized by a rough topography, offshore location, and a strong hydrodynamic regime [22]. ...
... Some rare or poorly known fish species (Scorpaenodes arenai, Gadella maraldi, Hyporthodus haifensis, Myliobatis aquila) were observed during this study. Indeed, ROV explorations allowed to observe for the first time S. arenai (Fig 8B) in its preferential habitat, i.e. small crevices of high complex rocky bottom (further details are given in Battaglia et al. [18]). Small caves of hard substrata characterized by medium complexity were inhabited by G. maraldi ( Fig 8C) which was usually observed in depths between 100 and 150 m. ...
... The present study allowed to observe, by ROV, some rare or poorly known fish species in their habitat. The occurrence of S. arenai in the Strait of Sicily (Graham Bank) was recorded for the first time by underwater observation (further details were given by Battaglia et al. [18]). This species had been considered endemic from the Strait of Messina until 1995, when some individuals were collected in the Azores waters (Atlantic Ocean) [7], and no other records from Mediterranean waters have been reported out of the Strait of Messina until the contribution of Battaglia et al. [18]. ...
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... Finally, it cannot be also excluded that D. dumerilii may be an immigrant from the Atlantic Ocean, given that the climate change has determined the introduction of a large number of non-indigenous species (NIS) in the Mediterranean in recent times. During recent years, the collection of stranded fauna in the Strait of Messina has allowed the finding and study of several rare and poorly known deep species ( Author's personal copy 2015a, 2015a, b; Battaglia et al. 2010Battaglia et al. , 2012Battaglia et al. , 2013aBattaglia et al. , 2014Battaglia et al. , 2015a , b), extending the knowledge on their taxonomy, biology , and ecology. The importance of this area is determined by the presence of upwelling and tidal currents, which concentrate a large number of mesopelagic and benthopelagic organisms in epipelagic waters and, in some hydrodynamic and wind conditions , strand them on the shore (Berdar et al. 1983; Battaglia et al. 2010 Battaglia et al. , 2015b). ...
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... A combination of diagnostic morphological characters was used to safely identify Scorpaenodes arenai: (a) overall red-orange colour; (b) vertical reddish-brown bars with that on the caudal peduncle not being Y-forked like in Helicolenus dactylopterus; (c) eye with dark iris and brownish radial bands; (d) suborbital ridge with spines; (e) black blotch in the middle of the dorsal fin (Azevedo & Heemstra, 1995;Battaglia et al., 2015). This is the first time Scorpaenodes arenai is observed during a SCUBA dive in the Mediterranean. ...
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The Collective Article ‘New Mediterranean Biodiversity Records’ of the Mediterranean Marine Science journal offers the means to publish biodiversity records in the Mediterranean Sea. The current article is divided in two parts, for records of native and alien species respectively. The new records of native species include: the neon flying squid Ommastrephes bartramii in the waters surrounding the island of Capri, Thyrrenian Sea; the bigeye thresher shark Alopias superciliosus in the Adriatic Sea; a juvenile basking shark Cetorhinus maximus caught off Piran (northern Adriatic); the deep-sea Messina rockfish Scorpaenodes arenai in the National Marine Park of Zakynthos (East Ionian Sea, Greece); and the oceanic puffer Lagocephalus lagocephalus in the Adriatic Sea. The new records of alien species include: the red algae Antithamnionella elegans and Palisada maris-rubri, found for the first time in Israel and Greece respectively; the green alga Codium parvulum reported from Turkey (Aegean Sea); the first record of the alien sea urchin Diadema setosum in Greece; the nudibranch Goniobranchus annulatus reported from the South-Eastern Aegean Sea (Greece); the opisthobranch Melibe viridis found in Lebanon; the new records of the blue spotted cornetfish Fistularia commersonii along the Alicante coast (Eastern Spain); the alien fish Siganus luridus and Siganus rivulatus in Lipsi Island, Dodecanese (Greece); the first record of Stephanolepis diaspros from the Egadi Islands Marine Protected Area (western Sicily); a northward expansion of the alien pufferfish Torquigener flavimaculosus along the southeastern Aegean coasts of Turkey; and data on the occurrence of the Lessepsian immigrants Alepes djedaba, Lagocephalus sceleratus and Fistularia commersonii in the waters surrounding the island of Zakynthos (SE Ionian Sea, Greece).
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