Chondrichthyes species in deep waters of the Mediterranean Sea
Keywords:Chondrichthyes, distribution, size structure, biology, Mediterranean Sea
Data collected during the DESEAS survey carried out in three areas of the Mediterranean Sea (Balearic Sea, western and eastern Ionian Sea) were used to describe the distribution and abundance of chondrichthyes species at depths between 600 and 4000 m. A total of 8 chondrichthyes species were recorded, 5 of them in the Balearic Sea, 4 in the western Ionian and 6 in the eastern Ionian. A decrease in abundance with depth was observed in each species with the exception of Centroscymnuscoelolepis. The most abundant species were Galeus melastomus and Etmopterusspinax. The depth range of some species was updated. G. melastomus was caught down to 1500 m, exhibiting a smaller-deeper pattern in females, while E.spinax was captured down to 2200 m with a bigger-deeper trend. Mature females of these two sharks were found between 600 and 1500 m. A wide size-range was shown in both species. C.coelolepis was only collected in the Balearic Sea down to 2800 m. The presence of a pregnant female was sampled from a depth of 1500 m. The distribution of the species is discussed in the context of the present knowledge of the Mediterranean ichthyofauna.
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