IEO researchers confirm Norwegian skate presence in the Mediterranean
2017-10-31 11:35:19   copyfrom:    hits:

Norwegian skate specimen caught near Alboran island (Photo: Sergio Ramírez, COB-IEO)SPAINTuesday, October 31,

 
Norwegian skate specimen caught near Alboran island. (Photo: Sergio Ramírez, COB-IEO)

 

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017, 00:30 (GMT + 9)

 

Researchers from the oceanographic centres of the Balearic Islands and Malaga of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) and the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB) have corroborated the presence of the Norwegian skate (Dipturus nidarosiensis) in the Mediterranean, and that it has expanded its distribution area from the central basin to the western basin.

The Norwegian skate is distributed mainly in the Atlantic, from the south of Norway, Iceland and Scotland to the Bay of Biscay, and lives in deep waters between 200 and more than 1000 metres deep.

Its presence in the Mediterranean was not known until 2010, when Italian researchers reported the capture of 14 specimens of this species in southern Sardinia.

However, the fact that these specimens belong to the species D. nidarosiensis was questioned by a part of the scientific community, which considered that these records could correspond to smaller specimens of a new species of the genus Dipturus, yet to be described. This same statement was considered in the latest red list of chondrichthyes of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), published in 2015, which lists D. nidarosiensisas an "almost threatened" species in the Atlantic, but does not consider its presence in the Mediterranean.

Within the framework of a new research project, Spanish experts studied eight specimens of the genus Dipturus captured around the Alborán Island during the MEDITS research surveys, carried out by the IEO in 2012, 2013 and 2016. The results of the morphological analysis of these specimens and the sequencing of two fragments of mitochondrial DNA were very similar to those obtained in D. nidarosiensis specimens in the Atlantic and those previously captured in Sardinia.

This confirms the fact that all these specimens belong to the same species, D. nidarosiensis and, therefore, its presence in the Mediterranean, where its distribution area is also extended from the central basin to the western basin.

This study has been carried out within the framework of the DEMBAGOL and DEMALBORAN projects, co-financed by the European Commission and the IEO

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