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Etrumeus golanii (Actinopterygii: Clupeiformes: Dussumieriidae) a new Lessepsian migrant recorded in Morocco, Alboran Sea (south-west Mediterranean)

  • National Institute of Fisheries Research
  • Instituto Universitario de Sanidad Animal y Seguridad Alimentaria

Abstract and Figures

The occurrence of a Lessepsian migrant, the Golani round herring, Etrumeus golanii DiBattista, Randall et Bowen, 2012, is reported here for the first time from the Alboran Sea (south-west Mediterranean). On May 2018, twenty individuals were caught by a commercial purse-seiner off Fnideq (Morocco), but five females and two males, were kept by the fisherman for further analyses. This new finding confirms the expansion of this Lessepsian migrant throughout the Mediterranean Sea.
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Mohamed Naoufal TAMSOURI1*, Said BENCHOUCHA1, Mohamed IDHALLA2,
and Fatima EL AAMRI3
1 Laboratory of Fisheries, National Institute of Fisheries Research (INRH), Tanger, Morocco
2 Department of Aquaculture, National Institute of Fisheries Research (INRH), Casablanca, Morocco
3 Shellsh Aquaculture Technology Research Center, National Institute of Fisheries Research (INRH), M’diq, Morocco
Tamsouri M. N., Benchoucha S., Idhalla M., El Aamri F. 2019. Etrumeus golanii (Actinopterygii:
Clupeiformes: Dussumieriidae) a new Lessepsian migrant recorded in Morocco, Alboran Sea (south-
west Mediterranean). Acta Ichthyol. Piscat. 49 (1): 43–47
Abstract. The occurrence of a Lessepsian migrant, the Golani round herring, Etrumeus golanii DiBattista,
Randall et Bowen, 2012, is reported here for the first time from the Alboran Sea (south-west Mediterranean). On
May 2018, twenty individuals were caught by a commercial purse-seiner off Fnideq (Morocco), but five females
and two males, were kept by the fisherman for further analyses. This new finding confirms the expansion of this
Lessepsian migrant throughout the Mediterranean Sea.
Keywords: round herring, Etrumeus golanii, new record, morphometry, Alboran Sea, Morocco
ACTA ICHTHYOLOGICA ET PISCATORIA (2019) 49 (1): 43–47 DOI: 10.3750/AIEP/02495
* Correspondence: Dr Mohamed Naoufal Tamsouri, Institut National de Recherche Halieutique (INRH), Tanger, Morocco, phone: +212539946586. e-mail: (MNT), (SB), (MI), (FE)
The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 connected the
Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea and allowed a large
number of tropical/subtropical marine species to enter
the Mediterranean basin. This migration phenomenon
has been called Lessepsian migration (DiBattista et al.
2012, Galil et al. 2015). To date, many Lessepsian species
have established thriving populations along the eastern
Mediterranean coastlines (Galil et al. 2017).
According to a recent study by Zenetos et al. (2017),
a total of 821 alien species have been reported in the
Mediterranean Sea with the Lessepsian fishes accounting
for approximately 100 (Giovos et al. 2018), including
the Golani round herring, Etrumeus golanii DiBattista,
Randall et Bowen, 2012.
Etrumeus golanii is an inshore pelagic fish originally
known from the northern region of the Red Sea and now
expanding towards the Mediterranean. It is established
in the Mediterranean Sea, especially in its eastern part
and was widely reported in the literature as “Etrumeus
teres”. Those erroneously labelled findings later turned
out to be a species that is new to science (Zenetos et
al. 2017). The above-mentioned misidentification was
exposed by DiBattista et al. (2012).
Etrumeus golanii is not restricted to the eastern
Mediterranean Sea but it is also present in its central (Italy,
Libya and Tunisia) and western (Algeria) parts (Falautano
et al. 2006, Boussellaa et al. 2016, Shakman et al. 2017,
Stamouli et al. 2017).
This paper reports the first occurrence of Etrumeus
golanii for Morocco and the Alboran Sea and the second
record of this fish from the western Mediterranean Sea.
Several specimens of the Golani round herring, Etrumeus
golanii, were caught off Fnideq, Morocco (35°50.366′
N, 005°16.578′W–35°49.998′N, 005°16.388′W) (Fig. 1)
from depths ranging from 67 to 80 m, at nights of 7 and
8 May 2018, by a commercial purse-seiner. The catch
included also other small pelagic fishes such as Trachurus
mediterraneus (Steindachner, 1868), Scomber colias
Gmelin, 1789, and Sardina pilchardus (Walbaum, 1792).
Seven specimens of the round herring were provided by
the fisherman for our study.
All specimens were measured, weighed, and
photographed. Morphometric and meristic measurements
are presented in Table 1. The specimens were preserved in
ethanol and deposited at the Laboratory of Fisheries of the
National Institute of Fisheries Research (INRH), Tanger,
Morocco, with voucher number LP-18/01.
Tamsouri et al.
et al. 2016) (Table 1), we have identified our specimens as
Etrumeus golanii. All studied specimens were adults with
a total length (TL) varying from 252 to 283 mm and net
weight varying from 148.66 to 217.39 g (Fig. 2). These
specimens were dissected and sexed. Thus, five were
identified as females with gonad weighing from 2.57 to
4.48 g and two were males with gonad weight from 1.86
to 6.57 g.
To date, there is no evidence of any negative impact
of Etrumeus golanii on local fisheries resources.
On the contrary, the presence of E. golani received
positive comments (Stamouli et al. 2017). In the eastern
Mediterranean Sea, an important population of the
Golani round herring is already established (Corsini et al.
2005, Akyol and Ulaş 2016) and represents an important
commercial resource (DiBattista et al. 2012). The currently
known distribution of the species in the Mediterranean is
shown in Fig. 3 and listed in Table 2. With this finding,
the number of Lessepsian species present in Morocco
increases to two (see below).
In general, there has been a limited number of
studies on non-indigenous species, conducted along the
Mediterranean coasts of Morocco (Bazairi et al. 2016,
Selfati et al. 2017, El Aamri et al. 2018) and Lessepsian
species, in particular. Selfati et al. (2017) reported the
5 Km
5.56° W
5.21° W
Alboran Sea
Fig. 1. The capture site of Etrumeus golanii specimens
(star); off Fnideq, Morocco (Alboran Sea)
Table 1
Morphometric measurements and counts of Etrumeus golanii, captured from Findeq Bay, Morocco (Alboran Sea)
compared with other published records
Cyprus 2000 Italy 2006 Turkey 2016 Tunisia 2016 Morocco 2018
n2 1 1 7 7
Measurements [mm]
Total length 231 180 225–265 252–283
Fork length 211 159 200–243 228–260
Standard length 138–213 202 153 165–225 215–243
Body depth 20.6–42.4 35.6 28 34.5–41.3 43–50
Predorsal fin length 88 66 87–102 92–107
Prepectoral fin length — — 38 — 46.5–56
Preanal fin length — 127 — 175–203
Head length 31–53.5 45 34 39.2–49.3 45–52
Eye diameter 9.3–18.6 12.44 11 10.2–12.5 13–15
Preorbitary length — — 12 13–16
Dorsal fin base length 26.6 24.2–26.1 31–35
Anal fin base length — 9.4 — 9–9.5 9–12
Pelvic fin length — 14.3 — 14–22 14–16
Meristic counts
Dorsal fin rays 17–20 18 17 18 18
Pectoral fin rays 15–17 15 16 16 15–16
Pelvic fin rays 8–10 8 8 8 8
Anal fin rays 9–10 12 9 9 9–10
n = number of specimens examined, Cyprus 2000 = Golani 2000, Italy 2006 = Falautano et al. 2006, Turkey 2016 = Akyol and Ulaş 2016,
Tunisia 2016 = Boussellaa et al. 2016, Morocco 2018 = presently reported study.
According to the description given by DiBattista et al.
(2012) and comparison of the morphometric and metric
characters of Etrumeus golanii from other areas of the
central and eastern Mediterranean Sea (Golani 2000,
Falautano et al. 2006, Akyol and Ulaş 2016, Boussellaa
First record of Etrumeus golanii from Morocco 45
Fig. 2. Etrumeus golanii captured off Fnideq Bay, Morocco; scale bar: 20 mm
1997 1996
400 Km
45° N
35° N
10° E 30° E
Fig. 3. Published records of Etrumeus golanii in the Mediterranean Sea (black dots: as listed in Table 2) and the new
record, determined in this study (star)
Table 2
Records of Etrumeus golanii in the Mediterranean Sea
Record date Location Reference
1961 Haifa Bay, Israel Whitehead 1963
1994 Egypt El Sayed 1994
1996 Iskenderun, Turkey Başusta et al. 1997
1997 Antalya Gulf, Turkey Yılmaz and Hoşsucu 2003
1999 Limassol, Cyprus Golani 2000
2003 Rhodes, Greece Corsini et al. 2005
2004 Cyclades, Greece Kallianiotis and Lekkas 2005
2005 Hydra Island, Greece Zenetos et al. 2008
2004–2005 Crete, Greece Kasapidis et al. 2007
2005 Lampedusa, Italy Falautano et al. 2006
2009 Dikili Coast, Turkey Yarmaz et al. 2010
2015 Gulf of Izmir, Turkey Akyol and Ulaş 2016
2014 Gulf of Gabes, Tunisia Boussellaa et al. 2016
2017 Misrata, Libya Shakman et al. 2017
2017 Cherchell, Algeria Stamouli et al. 2017
2018 Fnideq Bay, Morocco Presently reported study
Tamsouri et al.
first presumed Lessepsian species namely, the gastropod
Bursatella leachii from Mar-Chica (Nador).
In conclusion, the recent occurrence of the Golani
round herring, Etrumeus golanii, in Tunisian, Algerian,
and Moroccan waters, may be linked to the altering
environmental conditions which are gradually becoming
more favourable for those fish. In this case, it could be
assumed that the establishment of a sustainable population
in near future could be expected. Furthermore, the
presently reported record confirms, also, the occurrence
of this fish species in the Alboran Sea and its expansion
throughout the Mediterranean Sea.
We gratefully acknowledge the help of Dr Manuel
Antonio E. Malaquias in proofreading the text.
We would like to thank, also, Mr Abdelghani
EL HAMDI, captain of the commercial purse-seiner
Hilal 3 from M’diq port, for providing us specimens and
information on the E. golanii fishing localities and Khalil
TAMSOURI for making the illustrations.
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Received: 5 June 2018
Accepted: 24 August 2018
Published electronically: 15 March 2019
... For example, most of the invaded range of S. luridus and E. golani involves novel AT and ITV conditions. Notably, both species have spread beyond the Strait of Sicily, and individuals of E. golani have been recorded as far west as the Strait of Gibraltar (Tamsouri et al., 2019). Compared with the results reported by Parravicini et al. (2015) and D'Amen and Azzurro (2020b)-which are based on species niches measured according to a set of eight variables-we identified the areas lacking a temperature match both spatially and temporally and analysed their changes over time. ...
Global warming is enabling tropical invaders to expand into regions, where unsuitable climate conditions used to prevent the survival or reproduction. Here, using the occurrence data of 22 Lessepsian fish in the Mediterranean Sea, we aimed at (1) gaining a deeper understanding of temperature match dynamics over the spatio-temporal spread of each invasion event and (2) testing the hypothesis that successful invasions require a temperature match, as assumed in several bioinvasion risk assessments. For each species, we identified the areas of the Mediterranean lacking a temperature match with native ranges over the past six decades. We found that some species, particularly recent invaders, have spread far beyond temperature matching conditions. The populations at the expanding edge of the range are often found in sites that have experienced increases in temperature. Temperature match positively correlates with species spread rate and after 1990, higher temperatures in the Mediterranean provided analogous conditions for a growing number of non-indigenous species. Our results warn against the general use of temperature-based climate matching in bioinvasion risk and provide guidance for the application of species distribution models that incorporate temperature to marine bioinvasion research.
... Etrumeus golanii, formerly known as Etrumeus teres (DeKay, 1842), is a small pelagic fish originally known from the northern Red Sea . In the Mediterranean, it was first recorded from Israel in 1961 and it subsequently spread across the sea to Morocco (Galil et al., 2019;Tamsouri et al., 2019;and references therein). An important population of Golani's round herring has already been established in the eastern Mediterranean and the species is commercially exploited in Egypt and Turkey (Farrag et al., 2014;Çiftçi, & Bardakci, 2021). ...
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The Golani’s round herring Etrumeus golanii is an Erythraean small pelagic fish (lessepsian migrant) that entered into the Mediterranean Sea through the Suez Canal. It has expanded its distribution from the east to the western Mediterranean with well-established local populations. We investigated basic aspects of its reproductive biology off the island of Crete (eastern Mediterranean) using ovarian histology and analysis of oocyte size-frequency distributions. The species exhibited a protracted breeding period (winter to early summer), with all ovaries examined during the main spawning season having markers of recent (postovulatory follicles, POFs) or imminent spawning (advanced oocyte batch in germinal vesicle migration or hydration). The advanced batch (AB) increased rapidly in size and was fully separated from the remainder, less developed oocytes in 95% of females with “old” POFs (POFs with signs of degeneration) and all females in final maturation. The growth of the subsequent batch (SB) was arrested at sizes <630 µm until full maturation of the AB. Mean diameter of hydrated oocytes ranged from 1181 to 1325 µm and relative batch fecundity was low ranging from 56 to 157 eggs g-1. The simulation of a coupled hydrodynamic/biogeochemical model (POM/ERSEM) provided evidence that E. golanii takes advantage of the seasonal cycle of planktonic production to reproduce and exhibits monthly changes in batch fecundity that appear to be closely related with the seasonal cycle of mesozooplankton concentration.
... The Western Mediterranean was the recipient of only 7 expanding species, primarily through shipping vectors, with the exception of two Lessepsian fishes and one fish parasite. Etrumeus golanii, which has already attained commercial significance in the Eastern Mediterranean (DiBattista et al. 2012), has recently spread through the central basin all the way to the Alboran Sea (Tamsouri et al. 2019). Pteragogus trispilus, another Lessepsian immigrant, appears to be pushing the lower limits of its thermal envelope both in the Aegean (Yapici et al. 2015) and along the African coast, having been observed in the Gulf of Tunis in 2016 (Hamed et al. 2018). ...
... The Western Mediterranean was the recipient of only 7 expanding species, primarily through shipping vectors, with the exception of two Lessepsian fishes and one fish parasite. Etrumeus golanii, which has already attained commercial significance in the Eastern Mediterranean (DiBattista et al. 2012), has recently spread through the central basin all the way to the Alboran Sea (Tamsouri et al. 2019). Pteragogus trispilus, another Lessepsian immigrant, appears to be pushing the lower limits of its thermal envelope both in the Aegean (Yapici et al. 2015) and along the African coast, having been observed in the Gulf of Tunis in 2016 (Hamed et al. 2018). ...
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The occurrence of the Lessepsian migrant Golani round herring Etrumeus golanii (Dussumieriidae) was con-firmed off the Tunisian coast with the record of a specimen captured by a commercial purse-seiner on 13 March 2020, in the Gulf of Hammamet. The specimen, a mature female, measured 262 mm in total length and weighed 178.22 g. Morphometric and meristic characteristics of the specimen caught are given. This new finding of E. golanii confirms the rapid expansion of this Lessepsian migrant’s range in the Mediterranean Sea.
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To date, the Mediterranean Sea has been subjected to numerous non-indigenous species’ introductions raising the attention of scientists, managers, and media. Several introduction pathways contribute to these introduction, including Lessepsian migration via the Suez Canal, accounting for approximately 100 fish species, and intentional or non-intentional aquarium releases, accounting for at least 18 species introductions. In the context of the citizen science project of iSea “Is it alien to you?… Share it”, several citizens are engaged and regularly report observations of alien, rare or unknown marine species. The project aims to monitor the establishment and expansion of alien species in Greece. In this study, we present the first records of two popular high-valued aquarium species, the Scissortail Sergeant, Abudefduf sexfasciatus and the Sohal Surgeonfish, Acanthurus sohal, in along the Mediterranean coastline of Greece. The aggressive behaviour of the two species when in captivity, and the absence of records from areas close to the Suez Canal suggest that both observations are the result of aquarium intentional releases, rather than a Lessepsian migration.
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The “New Mediterranean Biodiversity Records” series includes new records of marine species found in the Mediterranean basin and/or information on the spatial distribution of already established species of particular interest. The current article presents information on 21 marine taxa classified per country according to their geographic position in the Mediterranean, from west to east. The new records per ecoregion are as follows: Algeria: the first record of the fish Etrumeus golanii is reported along the Algerian coast. Tunisia: the alien jellyfish Phyllorhiza punctata is reported for the first time in the Gulf of Gabès. Italy: the first record of Siganus rivulatus in the Strait of Sicily and a new record of Katsuwonus pelamis from the central Tyrrhenian Sea are reported. The establishment of the isopod of the genus Mesanthura in the northern Tyrrhenian with some notes on its ecology are also included. Croatia: signs of establishment of the Lessepsian Siganus luridus and the occurrence of the alien mollusc Rapana venosa are reported. Albania: the first record of the elasmobranch Alopias superciliosus and a recent sighting of the rare monk seal Monachus monachus in Albanian waters are given. Greece: signs of the establishment of the fish Parupeneus forsskali and of the ascidian Hermania momus in Hellenic Aegean waters are reported. Turkey: a new record of the fish P. forsskali and of the halacarid mites Acaromantis monnioti and Simognathus adriaticus are given, while the first case of Remora australis in association with delphinids and the occurrence of the sea star Coscinasterias tenuispina are reported. Also, the establishment of the two alien species Isognomon legumen and Viriola sp. [cf. corrugata] are presented. Egypt: the fish Bathygobius cyclopterus is reported for the first time in Mediterranean Sea waters. Also, a new record of Pagellus bogaraveo and a first record of Seriola fasciata in Egyptian Mediterranean waters are reported. Lebanon: the first record of Dondice banyulensis is presented.
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Seven first records of species of various origins are reported from the Libyan marine environment. These are the Longfin yellowtail Seriola rivoliana, Lesser amberjack Seriola fasciata, Blunthead puffer Sphoeroides pachygaster, Golani round herring Etrumeus golanii, Blue swimmer crab Portunus segnis, Bigfin reef squid Sepioteuthis lessoniana, and the green alga Caulerpa taxifolia. The first three species are widely distributed fish seemingly expanding their range in the Mediterranean Sea, while the others are alien species, introduced in the Mediterranean through various pathways. While some were recently captured, others were identified from old collections, with dates of capture ranging between 1993 and 2017. In addition to updating the list of marine fauna and flora from Libya, the respective dates of these records represent vital information for future studies aiming at reconstructing range expansion histories and assessing spread rates in the Mediterranean Sea.
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The ragged sea hare Bursatella leachii Blainville, 1817 is a circumtropical mollusc species widely distributed both in the Atlantic and the Indo-Pacific, including the Red Sea. Since the mid-20th century, it has been moving east to west in the Mediterranean Sea. The present work reviews the spread of B. leachii in the Mediterranean Basin and provides the first record in the Mediterranean Morocco (Marchica coastal lagoon), the 19th country colonized by this taxon out of 23 with Mediterranean Sea coastlines. This study also constitutes the first record from the southern Alboran Sea and represents the westernmost record of the species in the Mediterranean. Although the Red Sea is thought to be the most likely origin (Lessepsian migration) of the Mediterranean populations, phylogenetic and phylogeographic studies would be desirable to assess with certainties both the taxonomy and the proper origin of the species not only in the western part of the basin, but also in the Mediterranean Sea as a whole.
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The Suez Canal is the main pathway of introduction of non-indigenous species into the Mediterranean Sea. The successive enlargements of the Suez Canal have raised concern over increasing propagule pressure resulting in continuous introductions of new non-indigenous species and associated degradation and loss of native populations, habitats and ecosystem services. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) through its Barcelona Convention has pledged to protect the biological resources, habitats and ecosystem services of the Mediterranean Sea, and have committed to spatial protection measures. Yet, UNEP shied away from discussing, let alone managing, the influx of tropical non-indigenous biota introduced through the Suez Canal. Surveys, funded by the Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas (UNEP RAC/SPA), established by the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention, revealed that marine protected areas in the eastern Mediterranean have been inundated by these non-indigenous species, and may in fact function as hubs for their secondary dispersal. We call attention to the failure of an environmental policy that left the entire Mediterranean Sea prone to colonization by highly impacting non-indigenous species, including poisonous and venomous ones. Scientific research has been documenting this bioinvasion for over a century, yet beyond the ambit of marine scientists there is a lack of awareness of the scale of Mediterranean-wide consequences and scant appetite to enact the necessary environmental policies.
The meticulous revision by taxonomic experts of established alien species in the Mediterranean resulted in a major revision of the list proposed by Galil et al. (2016), with 72 species to be excluded (35 species categorised as non-established and 37 as not true aliens), and 71 species added to the list. Consequently, by year 2016 the total number of established alien species in the Mediterranean reached 610, which is a 20% increase over the preceding four years. If we also consider casual species (227 species), the total number of alien species in the Mediterranean is 837. This is attributed to: new findings, change in establishment status of species previously known on the basis of few and scattered records, and results of phylogenetic studies in some cosmopolitan species. However, the true number of alien species reported here is considered to be an underestimation, as it does not include phytoplanktonic organisms, Foraminifera, cryptogenic and species known on the basis of questionable records that might turn out to be true aliens. EASIN and INVASIVESNET can play a major role in the future revision/update of the present list, which currently serves for assessing indicators that are necessary for policy, and for management of alien species in the Mediterranean Sea. An increasing trend in new arrivals since 1950, which culminated in the 2001–2010 period, appeared to decline after 2010. Whether this negative trend is an indication of improvement, or is an artefact, remains to be seen. The current list provides a reliable updated database from which to continue monitoring the arrival and spread of invasive species in the Mediterranean, as well as to provide counsel to governmental agencies with respect to management and control. Current geographical, taxonomical and impact data gaps can be reduced only by instituting harmonised standards and methodologies for monitoring alien populations in all countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.
Lessepsian migrant fish species from the island of Rhodes (SE Aegean Sea, Greece), namely Etrumeus teres, Upeneus pori, Sphyraena flavicauda, Petroscirtes ancylodon, Callionymus filamentosus, Lagocephalus suezensis, are reported for the first time. The pufferfish Tylerius spinosissimus is recorded for the first time from the Mediterranean Sea. These records increase the number of the Erythrean fishes in the Eastern Mediterranean and extend their distributions. Way of dispersion and condition of local establishment are also discussed.