Joining forces for biodiversity, regional updates and review

by A. Zenetos (HCMR)

A new review “Adriatic ‘Opistobranchs’ (Gastropoda, Heterobranchia): Shedding light on biodiversity issues” of the Adriatic opisthobranch fauna, provides an updated checklist of 224 species and assess their distribution at regional and country level. This work is the result of a collaboration of scientists from Albania, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy and Greece co-ordinated by HCMR. A number of funding sources, including DEVOTES**, have supported this initiative to synthesize knowledge to the regional level.

New Adriatic records are provided for 67 opisthobranch taxa, adding three new records for Italian coastline, five new records for Albania, eight for Croatia and 15 for Montenegro. The presence of Hermaea bifida (Montagu, 1815), Hermaea variopicta (Costa A., 1869) (Figure 1) and Facelina annulicornis (Chamisso & Eysenhardt, 1821) (Figure 2) in the entire Adriatic Sea is reported for the first time. Including the new findings, our inventory includes 28 species in Albania, 163 in Croatia, 180 in the Italian coastline of the Adriatic, 41 in Montenegro, and 76 in Slovenia.

Hermea variopicta

Fig. 1 New opisthobranch species from the Adriatic Sea. Hermaea variopicta (Costa A., 1869).
Photo by D. Poloniato

Facelina annulicornis

Fig. 2 New opisthobranch species from the Adriatic Sea. Facelina annulicornis (Chamisso & Eysenhardt, 1821).
Photo by F. Betti

In the European Register of Marine species (ERMS), 664 ‘Opisthobranch’ species were recorded for the European waters and the eastern waters of the North Atlantic. At the Mediterranean scale, the known ‘Opisthobranchia’ number 460 species (Templado & Villanueva in Coll et al. 2010). Thirty three % of the European opisthobranch species (~48% of these being Mediterranean), are recorded in the Adriatic Sea, which forms only a minor portion of the European Seas. A substantially higher percentage of diversity has been documented for fish fauna, for example: 451 species occur in the Adriatic (Dulčić & Dragičević 2014) compared to 684 species in the Mediterranean (accounting for ~66%) (Psomadakis et al. 2012).

The present work illustrates how rewarding the results can be, when all possible bibliographical sources are exploited (including global databases, not easily accessed gray literature is recovered, historical data are reviewed under the prism of modern taxonomic studies) and input from citizen scientists is critically reviewed.



Argyro Zenetos, Vesna Mačić, Andrej Jaklin, Lovrenc Lipej, Dimitris Poursanidis, Riccardo Cattaneo-Vietti, Sajmir Beqiraj, Federico Betti, Diego Poloniato, Lefter Kashta, Stelios Katsanevakis & Fabio Crocetta
Submitted to Marine Ecology as regular paper on 10.9.14
Manuscript ID : MAE 2140
Accepted with Minor corrections on 3.2.2015
Under revision

Coll M., Piroddi C., Steenbeek J., Kaschner K., Ben Rais Lasram F., Aguzzi J., Ballesteros E., Bianchi C.N., Corbera J., Dailianis T., Danovaro R., Estrada M., Froglia C., Galil B.S., Gasol J.M., Gertwagen R., Gil J.,Guilhaumon F., Kesner-Reyes K., Kitsos M.S., Koukouras A., Lampadariou N., Laxamana E., López-Fé de la Cuadra C.L., Lotze H.K., Martin D., Mouillot D., Oro D., Raicevich S., Rius-Barile J.,Saiz-Salinas J.I., San Vicente C., Somot S., Templado J., Turon X., Vafidis D., Villanueva R., Voultsiadou E. (2010) The Biodiversity of the Mediterranean Sea: Estimates, Patterns, and Threats. PLoS ONE, 5, (8) e11842. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011842

Dulčić J., & Dragičević B. (2014). Recent changes in the Adriatic and Mediterranean ichthyofauna. Abstract of 1st Croatian Symposium on Invasive Species with International Participation, 24.11.14, Zagreb, Croatia, ISSN 1849‐5702

Psomadakis P.N., Giustino S., Vacchi, M. (2012) Mediterranean fish biodiversity: an updated inventory with focus on the Ligurian and Tyrrhenian seas. Zootaxa, 3263, 1–46.

The survey of the Albanian and Montenegrin coastline was conducted within the framework of the trilateral (Greece, Albania, Montenegro) collaboration project ALBAMONTE, funded by UNEP/MAP RAC/SPA (contracts No 37, 38, 39/2010/RAC/SPA). Sampling and identification of unknown species have been supported by the international project ADRIAMED ( and the IPA Adriatic Cross-border Cooperation Programme ( Compilation of this review was partially supported by the DEVOTES (DEVelopment Of innovative Tools for understanding marine biodiversity and assessing Good Environmental Status) project funded by the European Union under the 7th Framework Programme, ‘The Ocean of Tomorrow’ Theme (Grant Agreement No. 308392), Lucas Cervera (Spain) and Guido Villani (Italy) helped in 2010 with the identification of the specimens collected by Fabio Crocetta and Diego Poloniato. Ángel Valdés (California) discussed the misidentification of “Tayuva lilacina”. Marco Giuliano (Italy) provided the photo of Okenia elegans from Conero. Melita Bubek (Slovenia), Karin Desco (Slovenia), Žiga Dobrajc (Slovenia), Giulia Durante (Italy), Đani Iglić (Croatia), Luka Kastelic (Slovenia), Branislav Lazarevic (Montenegro), Miljenko Marukić (Croatia), Borut Mavric (Slovenia), Slavko Polak (Slovenia) and Domen Trkov (Slovenia) provided unpublished data.