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Larvae of oriental shrimp -Palaemon macrodactylus. (Photo: Asvin Perez-Torres C.O.B. - IEO)

Pacific shrimp larvae discovered in the Mediterranean Sea

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Thursday, January 24, 2013, 23:40 (GMT + 9)

A team of researchers from the Balearic Oceanography Centre of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) collected and studied Pacific native shrimp larvae found for the first time in the Mediterranean Sea.

The finding suggests the establishment of this invasive species from Southeast Asia, which has already settled in other regions of the world.

IEO researchers published the first data of oriental shrimp Palaemon macrodactylus in the Mediterranean along with scientists of the Portuguese Institute for Ocean and Atmosphere (IPMA) in Lisbon, and the Marine Science Institute of Andalusia (ICMAN) of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC).

Five oceanographic research campaigns were carried out around the Balearic Islands.

During these studies, decapod crustacean larvae were collected and studied, among which Zoea phases III and VI of the oriental shrimp were identified, reported the IEO.

"Taking into account the duration of larval development of this species and the local hydrographic conditions, it is likely that these larvae come from adults established in the western Mediterranean," said Dr. Asvin Perez Torres, lead author of the work.

For several decades, the spread of oriental shrimp from estuaries in Southeast Asia to other regions of the world has been verified, including the Atlantic coasts of Europe.

According to the IEO, "the detection of larval stages in the Mediterranean Sea could indicate the existence of populations established in the area."

Invasive species have the ability to adapt and colonize new environments, allowing them rapid dispersion and settlement in occupied habitat, where they may displace native resources.

This research was conducted as part of research projects funded by the National R + D + i Plan: 'Structure and dynamics of slope benthopelagic ecosystem in two oligotrophic areas of the western Mediterranean: a multidisciplinary approach at different time scales in the Islands Balearic' and 'Larval ecology and recruitment processes of decapod and cephalopod crustaceans and teleost fish in the Balearic Sea'.

By Analia Murias



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