Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Abundance patterns at the invasion front: the case of Siganus luridus in Linosa (Strait of Sicily, Central Mediterranean Sea)

Ernesto Azzurro A E , Giulio Franzitta B , Marco Milazzo B , Michel Bariche C and Emanuela Fanelli D

A Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA), Piazzale dei Marmi 2, I-57123 Livorno, Italy.

B Department of Earth and Marine Sciences, University of Palermo, Via Archirafi 22/28, I-90123 Palermo, Italy.

C Department of Biology, American University of Beirut, Riad El-Solh 1107 2020, Beirut, Lebanon.

D ENEA, Marine Environment Research Centre, PO Box 224, I-19100 Pozzuolo di Lerici (SP), Italy.

E Corresponding author. Email: eazzurr@gmail.com

Marine and Freshwater Research - http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MF16024
Submitted: 23 January 2016  Accepted: 22 March 2016   Published online: 16 June 2016

Abstract

The dusky spinefoot (Siganus luridus) has spread through much of the eastern Mediterranean since its introduction in 1920. In the present study, we monitored the abundance of this invader around the island of Linosa (Strait of Sicily), where the species was first recorded in 2003. Data were periodically collected along two temporal windows, 2005–06 and 2012–15, by both underwater visual census and surface snorkelling. Local ecological knowledge was investigated to gain complementary information. Both approaches highlighted significant proliferation of this tropical invader, with an average abundance of 0.36 individuals per 250 m2 across the 0–30-m depth range. Dense aggregations of more than 100 adult individuals were observed in September 2015, and a coherent spatial structure at the small scale (<1 km) was demonstrated. Considering the biogeographical relevance of this population, located at the western edge of its exotic distribution, these findings can be taken as a valuable case study for understanding invasion processes in the marine environment.

Additional keywords: Italy, Lessepsian migration, population outbreak, Siganidae.


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