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Spread of Microcosmus squamiger (Ascidiacea: Pyuridae) in the Mediterranean Sea and adjacent waters

Record type: Article

The Mediterranean Sea is subject to an ever-increasing arrival of non-indigenous marine organisms. Microcosmus squamiger is a solitary ascidian that inhabits shallow rocky littoral habitats. It probably originated in Australia and it has shown great invasive potential in other parts of the world. In the Mediterranean, M. squamiger has only been reported at a few sites in Spain and Italy. However, the closely related species Microcosmus exasperatus has been reported in several areas of the western Mediterranean. As these species can be easily confused, we re-examined most of the material from previous studies and our personal collections. In addition, sampling was done at several sites along the western Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts. The results showed that the majority of the M. exasperatus reports correspond to M. squamiger, and that M. squamiger is common on the Atlantic shores. This suggests that M. squamiger has entered the Mediterranean through the Gibraltar Strait, while the restricted distribution in the eastern Mediterranean of M. exasperatus suggests that this species is probably a Lessepsian migrant. In the Mediterranean Sea, M. squamiger has the ability to occupy extensive areas of hard substrata and to outcompete native species. Further studies are necessary to assess what impacts this invasive species have on native communities.

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Turon, Xavier, Nishikawa, Teruaki and Rius, Marc (2007) Spread of Microcosmus squamiger (Ascidiacea: Pyuridae) in the Mediterranean Sea and adjacent waters Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 342, (1), pp. 185-188. (doi:10.1016/j.jembe.2006.10.040).

More information

Published date: 26 March 2007
Keywords: Ascidians, Introduction, Invasive species, Mediterranean Sea, Non-indigenous species
Organisations: Ocean Biochemistry & Ecosystems


Local EPrints ID: 355037
ISSN: 0022-0981
PURE UUID: db815afd-e984-40e2-b587-1691211e02fc

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Date deposited: 25 Jul 2013 14:57
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 03:50

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Author: Xavier Turon
Author: Teruaki Nishikawa
Author: Marc Rius

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