During spring 2017, starting from 12 May, exceptional strandings of the purple snail Janthina pallida were recorded in the Ligurian Sea and along the western coast of Sardinia Island, under the effect of southern winds. The strandings continued for 3 days, until 15 May, when the winds shifted to the northern quadrant and the specimens were drifted back offshore. Such extensive strandings have never been previously reported in the scientific literature, either along the Mediterranean shores or elsewhere. Thanks to citizens’ help, it was possible to create a map of the strandings and obtain a gross estimate of the number of beached gastropods. The densities of the stranded animals reached an overall average of 801 ± 215 specimens m−2 (with peaks of over 2000 shells and rafts m−2 densely packed with hydrozoan Velella velella sails), corresponding to an average biomass of about 1.5 kg m−2. The size–frequency distribution of the shell heights showed a bi-modal trend, as is usual in the case of sequential hermaphroditism: almost all the specimens fitting the first mode (11 mm) showed a raft without eggs (males), while all the specimens belonging to the largest mode (23 mm) had rafts with settled egg cases (females). The general trend of the sea currents in the North-western Mediterranean Basin explains the spatial distribution of the strandings following 3 days of constant southern moderate breeze (up to 28 km h−1). The presence of such huge J. pallida banks in the Ligurian Sea is stochastic, probably linked to an Atlantic population entering through the Gibraltar Strait, as evidenced by the simultaneous presence of the buoy barnacle, Dosima fascicularis, a circumtropical species recorded here for the second time in the Mediterranean Sea.

Exceptional strandings of the purple snail Janthina pallida Thompson, 1840 (Gastropoda: Epitoniidae) and first record of an alien goose barnacle along the Ligurian coast (western Mediterranean Sea).

Betti Federico;Bavestrello Giorgio;Bo Marzia;Coppari Martina;ENRICHETTI, FRANCESCO;
2017

Abstract

During spring 2017, starting from 12 May, exceptional strandings of the purple snail Janthina pallida were recorded in the Ligurian Sea and along the western coast of Sardinia Island, under the effect of southern winds. The strandings continued for 3 days, until 15 May, when the winds shifted to the northern quadrant and the specimens were drifted back offshore. Such extensive strandings have never been previously reported in the scientific literature, either along the Mediterranean shores or elsewhere. Thanks to citizens’ help, it was possible to create a map of the strandings and obtain a gross estimate of the number of beached gastropods. The densities of the stranded animals reached an overall average of 801 ± 215 specimens m−2 (with peaks of over 2000 shells and rafts m−2 densely packed with hydrozoan Velella velella sails), corresponding to an average biomass of about 1.5 kg m−2. The size–frequency distribution of the shell heights showed a bi-modal trend, as is usual in the case of sequential hermaphroditism: almost all the specimens fitting the first mode (11 mm) showed a raft without eggs (males), while all the specimens belonging to the largest mode (23 mm) had rafts with settled egg cases (females). The general trend of the sea currents in the North-western Mediterranean Basin explains the spatial distribution of the strandings following 3 days of constant southern moderate breeze (up to 28 km h−1). The presence of such huge J. pallida banks in the Ligurian Sea is stochastic, probably linked to an Atlantic population entering through the Gibraltar Strait, as evidenced by the simultaneous presence of the buoy barnacle, Dosima fascicularis, a circumtropical species recorded here for the second time in the Mediterranean Sea.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11567/882586
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