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New and Very Rare Fish from the Mediterranean

Nature volume 25, page 535 | Download Citation



ON a long ichthyological excursion which I undertook by order of the Minister of Public Instruction in November and December last, during which I explored our Adriatic coast from Ancona to Lecce, the Ionian shores from Taranto to Reggio (Calabria), and visited the two seas of Sicily, collecting principally at Messina, Catania, and Palermo; I collected above 2000 specimens of fish, amongst which were many rare species, and several quite new to the ichthyofauna of the Mediterranean. Amongst the latter I may mention a large and perfect specimen of Molva vulgaris, found in the market of Catania; this is a North Atlantic species, and has not yet been recorded from the Mediterranean; there has been, it is true, for many years a dried skin specimen in the Genoa University Museum, which was figured in 1864 by Canestrini as Haloporphyrus lepidion, and six years afterwards corrected by the same author as Lota vulgaris. About a year ago Dr. Vinciguerra and myself determined it correctly, but as no data as to its capture had been preserved, we were in considerable doubt as to its being a Mediterranean specimen. At Palermo, where I went after leaving Catania, I found a third Italian specimen of this species. At Messina I collected two specimens of Scorpœna ustulata, Lowe, aud a fine specimen of Umbtina ronchus, Val., both new, to our fauna. I believe that most of the Madeira species will eventually be found in the Mediterranean, especially off the Sicilian coasts. Messina is a splendid locality for deep-sea or pelagic forms; it appears that during stormy weather, especially from the south-east, many abyssal species are in some way thrown up, and may be found in hundreds floating in the Messina harbour, which stretches like a net or trap across the Straits; such are Chauliodus, Stomias, Argyropelecus, Microstoma, Coccia, Maurolicus, Gonostoma, and some ten or twelve species of Scopelus. While there last November I secured a fine Malacocephalus lœvis, and a singular fish of a deep black colour, with small eyes and a naked skin, and a most abyssal physiognomy, which is quite new to me, and which I have not yet been able to determine; it may be allied to Malacosteus.

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  1. Florence, March 23



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