Editorial | Published:

Italian Deep-Sea Exploration in the Mediterranean

Nature volume 24, page 358 | Download Citation



AFTER some delay, beyond our control, the war-steamer of the Italian Royal Navy Washington, Capt. G. B. Magnanghi, R.N., left Maddalena on the 2nd inst. on her thallassographic mission. Under the able direction of Capt. Magnaghi, two days were devoted to preliminary dredgings and trawlings in depths from 200 to 1000 metres, principally for testing our apparatus, which works admirably. On the 4th inst. (yesterday afternoon) we did our first deep-sea dredging in 3000 metres; the dredge came up empty, but I had the pleasure of securing, attached to the hempen tangles, a magnificent specimen of that strange blind Crustacean discovered by the Challenger in the North Atlantic, and named Willemæsia leptodactyla; it is no doubt one of the most characteristic forms of the deep-sea fauna, and its discovery in the Mediterranean is of very great importance and interest, as all students of thalassography will be fully aware, after what Dr. Carpenter has written on the biological conditions of the deeper parts of that sea. Our specimen of Willemæsia is slightly smaller than the one dredged by the Challenger, and figured in Sir Wyville Thomson's “Atlantic,” vol. i. p. 189; but otherwise it differs only in one or two minor details, which may be sexual differences; it was dredged off the west coast of Sardinia.

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  1. Asinara, Sardinia, August 5



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