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New Fish Species Found Near Malta

by Ellen Hardy
12 June 2008, at 1:00am

MALTA - Two fish new species have been recorded in the Mediterranean waters around Malta.

Small numbers of the Dusky Spinefoot, Siganus luridus, were found in different occasions at Delimara, feeding on bottom algae a few metres from shore. The other species is the tiny Dalmatian Blenny.

Both species were recorded by Mark-Anthony Falzon, who has been researching fish in inshore Maltese waters since 1995, according to Times of Malta.

In June last year, a specimen was also spotted at a fishmonger's stall at the Cospicua market.

The Dusky Spinefoot can grow up to about 30 centimetres but the fish seen here so far were between 12 and 15 centimetres. It is oval-shaped, grey-brown on the dorsal side and paler along the belly. Its spines are venomous.

The Times of Malta said that the species is a Lessepsian migrant, which means that it originally entered the Mediterranean from the Red Sea through the Suez Canal. Hence, the name as the canal was constructed by the engineer Ferdinand de Lesseps. The fish was first spotted in the eastern Mediterranean in the early 1960s and has been spreading westwards since. A number of new Lessepsian migrants have been spotted locally in recent years.

View the Times of Malta story by clicking here.

Ellen Hardy