FIRST RECORD OF PORTUNUS PELAGICUS (LINNAEUS, 1758) (DECAPODA, BRACHYURA, PORTUNIDAE) IN THE NORTHERN TYRRHENIAN SEA BY FABIO CROCETTA 1 ) Via D. Fontana, 81, I-80128 Naples, Italy INTRODUCTION The opening of the sea level Suez Canal in 1869 and the increase in commercial shipping routes have led to the colonization of the Mediterranean Sea by Indo- Pacific species. These first established populations along the Levantine coasts, and then spread into the central Mediterranean, at least in part by shipping transport of larvae, juveniles, or adult specimens. One of those species is Portunus pelagicus (Linnaeus, 1758), a crab belonging to the Portunidae, and until now found in Italy only on the eastern Sicilian coasts. MATERIAL, RESULTS, AND DISCUSSION Portunus pelagicus occurs in the Indo-Pacific region from the Red Sea to Tahiti. It can easily be distinguished from Callinectes spp., the other large portunid crabs introduced into the Mediterranean, by the prominent inner spine on the cheliped carpus and, in males, by the triangular abdomen (Galil et al., 2002). It was first recorded from the Mediterranean Sea off Egypt in 1898 as Neptunus pelagicus (see: Fox, 1924), and in the following years it was also recorded from Pales- tine (Fox,
Crustaceana – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2006
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