Marine mammals and sea turtlesof the Mediterranean and Black Seas
MEDITERRANEAN AND BLACK SEA BASINS                                          Main seas, straits and gulfs in the Mediterran...
Marine mammals andsea turtles ofthe Mediterraneanand Black SeasCompiled byMaría del Mar Otero and Michela Conigliaro
The designation of geographical entities in this book, and the presentation of the material, do not imply the expression  ...
Table of contentsAcknowledgements............................................................................................
Acknowledgements     The Mediterranean cetacean assessment received extensive expert advice and assistance     from ACCOBA...
Conservation Status and Distribution of Marine Mammals and Sea Turtles of the Mediterranean and Black Seas               I...
Conservation status and distribution of marine mammals           Cetaceans and Pinnipeds     Conservation status and distr...
Marine Mammals · Cetaceans                Mediterranean Sea residentsCommon Bottlenose DolphinTursiops truncatus          ...
Marine Mammals · Cetaceans                     Mediterranean Sea residents     Cuvier’s Beaked Whale     Ziphius cavirostr...
Marine Mammals · Cetaceans                Mediterranean Sea residentsFin WhaleBalaenoptera physalus                       ...
Marine Mammals · Cetaceans                      Mediterranean Sea residents      Long-finned Pilot Whale      Globicephala...
Marine Mammals · Cetaceans                Mediterranean Sea residentsRisso’s DolphinGrampus griseus                       ...
Marine Mammals · Cetaceans                      Mediterranean Sea residents      Short-beaked Common Dolphin      Delphinu...
Marine Mammals · Cetaceans                Mediterranean Sea residentsSperm WhalePhyseter macrocephalus                    ...
Marine Mammals · Cetaceans                      Mediterranean Sea residents      Striped Dolphin      Stenella coeruleoalb...
Marine Mammals · Cetaceans               Black Sea residentsBlack Sea Bottlenose Dolphin                                  ...
Marine Mammals · Cetaceans                      Visitors & vagrants      Common Minke Whale                               ...
Lista Roja IUCN - Jessica Sánchez
Lista Roja IUCN - Jessica Sánchez
Lista Roja IUCN - Jessica Sánchez
Lista Roja IUCN - Jessica Sánchez
Lista Roja IUCN - Jessica Sánchez
Lista Roja IUCN - Jessica Sánchez
Lista Roja IUCN - Jessica Sánchez
Lista Roja IUCN - Jessica Sánchez
Lista Roja IUCN - Jessica Sánchez
Lista Roja IUCN - Jessica Sánchez
Lista Roja IUCN - Jessica Sánchez
Lista Roja IUCN - Jessica Sánchez
Lista Roja IUCN - Jessica Sánchez
Lista Roja IUCN - Jessica Sánchez
Lista Roja IUCN - Jessica Sánchez
Lista Roja IUCN - Jessica Sánchez
Lista Roja IUCN - Jessica Sánchez
Lista Roja IUCN - Jessica Sánchez
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Lista Roja IUCN - Jessica Sánchez

  1. 1. Marine mammals and sea turtlesof the Mediterranean and Black Seas
  2. 2. MEDITERRANEAN AND BLACK SEA BASINS Main seas, straits and gulfs in the Mediterranean and Black Sea basins, together with locations mentioned in the text for the distribution of marine mammals and sea turtles Ukraine Russia SEA OF AZOV Kerch Strait Crimea Romania Georgia Slovenia France Croatia BLACK SEA Bosnia & Herzegovina Bulgaria Monaco Bosphorus LIGURIAN SEA Montenegro Strait Gulf of Pelagos Sanctuary Lion Italy ADRIATIC SEA Albania Corsica Drini Bay Spain Dardanelles Strait Greece BALEARIC SEA Turkey Sardinia Algerian- TYRRHENIAN SEA AEGEAN SEA Balearic Islands Provençal IONIAN SEA Syria Basin Strait of Sicily CyprusStrait of SicilyGibraltar ALBORAN SEA Hellenic Trench Lebanon Tunisia Algeria Malta LEVANTINE SEA Israel West Morocco Tuni s ian P MEDITERRANEAN SEA Bank Gaza Strip latea Jordan u/Gu lf of Sirte Suez Canal Egypt Gulf of Sirte Libya RED SEA
  3. 3. Marine mammals andsea turtles ofthe Mediterraneanand Black SeasCompiled byMaría del Mar Otero and Michela Conigliaro
  4. 4. The designation of geographical entities in this book, and the presentation of the material, do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of IUCN concerning the legal status of any country, territory, or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of IUCN. Published by Compiled by María del Mar Otero IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation, Spain © IUCN, Gland, Switzerland, and Malaga, Spain Michela Conigliaro IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation, Spain Copyright © 2012 International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources With the support of Catherine Numa IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation, Spain Annabelle Cuttelod IUCN Species Programme, United Kingdom Reproduction of this publication for educational or other non-commercial purposes is authorized without prior written permission from the copyright holder provided the sources are fully acknowledged. Reproduction of Illustrations Jessica Sánchez this publication for resale or other commercial purposes is prohibited without prior written permission of the copyright holder. Regional Red List of Mediterranean Marine Mammals Red List logo  © 2008 Assessors for Giovanni Bearzi Citation Cetaceans Alex Aguilar IUCN (2012). Marine Mammals and Sea Turtles of the Mediterranean and Black Seas. Gland, Ana Cañadas Switzerland and Malaga, Spain: IUCN. 32 pages. Alexandros Frantzis Stefania Gaspari ISBN 978-2-8317-1478-3 Ada Natoli Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara Simone Panigada Cover illustration  Sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus flukes by Jessica Sánchez Randall R. Reeves Caterina Maria Fortuna Layout by  Factor Ñ Produced by  IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation Contributors for Ana Tejedor Arceredillo Cetaceans Celia Agusti Printed by Solprint, Mijas (Malaga), Spain Sabina Airoldi Renaud de Stephanis Dan Engelhaupt Available from IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation IUCN (International Union for Conservation of C/ Marie Curie 22. 29590 Campanillas, Nature) Publications Services Assessors for Lloyd Lowry Malaga, Spain 28 Rue Mauverney, 1196 Gland, Switzerland Pinnipeds Alex Aguilar Tel: +34 952 028430 - Fax: +34 952 028145 Tel: +41 22 999 0000 www.iucn.org/mediterranean Fax: +41 22 999 0020 Email: books@iucn.org www.iucn.org/publications Printed on chlorine-free ecological paper.2
  5. 5. Table of contentsAcknowledgements...................................................................................................................... 4 Pinnipeds.....................................................................................................................................20Introduction................................................................................................................................... 5 Mediterranean Sea residents.....................................................................................................20The Mediterranean and Black Seas............................................................................................... 5 Mediterranean Monk Seal  Monachus monachus .....................................................................20Marine mammals of the Mediterranean and Black Seas........................................................... 6 Sea turtles of the Mediterranean Sea........................................................................................21Cetaceans ..................................................................................................................................... 7 Mediterranean Sea residents and visitors................................................................................22 Loggerhead Turtle  Caretta caretta.............................................................................................22Mediterranean Sea residents....................................................................................................... 7 Green Turtle  Chelonia mydas ....................................................................................................23Common Bottlenose Dolphin  Tursiops truncatus........................................................................ 7Cuvier’s Beaked Whale  Ziphius cavirostris.................................................................................. 8 Mediterranean Sea visitors........................................................................................................24Fin Whale  Balaenoptera physalus................................................................................................ 9 Leatherback Turtle  Dermochelys coriacea................................................................................24Long-finned Pilot Whale  Globicephala melas............................................................................10Risso’s Dolphin  Grampus griseus .............................................................................................11 Conservation status of resident marine mammals ofShort-beaked Common Dolphin  Delphinus delphis .................................................................12 the Mediterranean and Black Seas............................................................................................25Sperm Whale  Physeter macrocephalus ....................................................................................13Striped Dolphin  Stenella coeruleoalba ......................................................................................14 The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species ................................................................................26Black Sea residents....................................................................................................................15 Regional Red List of resident marine mammals ofBlack Sea Bottlenose Dolphin  Tursiops truncatus ponticus .....................................................15 the Mediterranean and Black Seas............................................................................................27Black Sea Common Dolphin  Delphinus delphis ponticus .........................................................15Black Sea Harbour Porpoise  Phocoena phocoena relicta .........................................................15 Main threats................................................................................................................................28Visitors and vagrants..................................................................................................................16 Conservation measures and international treaties,Common Minke Whale  Balaenoptera acutorostrata .................................................................16 conventions and agreements.....................................................................................................29Humpback Whale  Megaptera novaeangliae..............................................................................16False Killer Whale  Pseudorca crassidens .................................................................................16 Conservation status and international agreements concerning marine mammalsRough-toothed Dolphin  Steno bredanensis ..............................................................................17 and sea turtles of the Mediterranean and Black Seas.............................................................30Killer Whale  Orcinus orca..........................................................................................................17Sei Whale  Balaenoptera borealis...............................................................................................17 Some relevant references...........................................................................................................31North Atlantic Right Whale  Eubalaena glacialis.........................................................................18Grey Whale  Eschrichtius robustus.............................................................................................18Dwarf Sperm Whale  Kogia sima................................................................................................18Northern Bottlenose Whale  Hyperoodon ampullatus.................................................................19Blainville’s Beaked Whale  Mesoplodon densirostris..................................................................19Gervais’ Beaked Whale  Mesoplodon europaeus.......................................................................19 3.
  6. 6. Acknowledgements The Mediterranean cetacean assessment received extensive expert advice and assistance from ACCOBAMS and the IUCN Cetacean Specialist Group. All the assessments submitted for inclusion in the IUCN Red List since 2000 have been peer-reviewed by the appointed Red List Authorities. We thank the following experts for their valuable help in reviewing the assessments: William F. Perrin, Barbara L. Taylor, Randall Reeves, Giuseppe Notarbar- tolo di Sciara, Robert L. Brownell and Brian D. Smith. We would also like to thank the following experts who additionally contributed to the regional assessments of the Mediterranean cetacean species included in this booklet: Alexei Birkun Jr., Greg Donovan, Caterina Maria Fortuna, Philip Hammond and Renaud de Stephanis. William F. Perrin and Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara (IUCN Cetacean Specialist Group), Kit Kovacs and Alexandros A. Karamanlidis (IUCN Pinniped Specialist Group) and Nico- las Pilcher and Paolo Casale (IUCN Marine Turtle Specialist Group) also made valuable comments. We are particularly grateful to Dania Abdul Malak for her preliminary work which made it possible to produce this booklet and to Craig Hilton-Taylor, Jean-Cristophe Vié and Lynne Labanne for their useful comments on this publication. Additionally, our thanks go to Chris Tribe and Violeta Barrios, who edited the document, Yichuan Shi and Olga Lucía Hernández, who produced the maps. This booklet has been produced by the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation in collaboration with the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) and the IUCN Species Programme. Financial support for the Mediterranean cetacean assessment and this booklet was provided by the MAVA Foundation and the Spanish Agency for International Develop- ment Cooperation (AECID)..4
  7. 7. Conservation Status and Distribution of Marine Mammals and Sea Turtles of the Mediterranean and Black Seas IntroductionIntroductionIUCN—International Union for Conservation of Nature— (those recorded all year round and breeding in the region), continental slope and steep underwater geological struc-is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental visitor species (scarcer but occurring regularly every year) tures such as submarine canyons, seamounts, mud volca-network, with more than 1,200 governmental and non- and vagrant species (rare and unexpected ones that do not noes, cold seeps, and trenches more than 5,000 m deep.governmental member organizations and almost 11,000 occur annually). This range of features supports high concentrations and avolunteer scientists in more than 160 countries. It provides great diversity of marine wildlife, including marineworld-leading expertise on species assessment and the The information presented in this document is compiled mammals and sea turtles that live in and migrate throughonly globally accepted methodology for measuring the from the Mediterranean Red List assessment of resident the sea. It is divided into two main basins, the Western andconservation status of the world’s species, through the cetacean species first produced by a group of cetacean the Eastern Mediterranean, connected by the Strait ofIUCN Red List Assessment of Threatened Species™ (IUCN experts in Monaco in March 2006 and later updated in Sicily. From west to east, the Alboran sea, Algerian-Red List). Knowing the conservation status of species is a 2010. This work was carried out in collaboration with Provençal basin, Tyrrhenian sea, Adriatic sea, Tunisianbasic requirement for developing significant political ACCOBAMS—the Agreement on the Conservation of Plateau/Gulf of Sirte, Ionian sea, Aegean sea and Levan-measures for biodiversity conservation. Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and tine sea constitute the Mediterranean (see map on inside Contiguous Atlantic Area—and the IUCN Cetacean front cover). The Strait of Gibraltar, the gate to the Mediter-The IUCN Red List assesses individual species according Specialist Group. As a result of this work, a Red List Cate- ranean, was not considered part of the Mediterranean forto a set of criteria and classes them in different categories gory has been assigned to each cetacean species. this assessment.according to their relative probability of risk of extinction(IUCN, 2001). All species fall into one of nine categories: This booklet also summarizes the current global status of The Black Sea marine ecosystem structure is different inExtinct (EX), Extinct in the Wild (EW), Critically Endan- visitor and vagrant cetaceans in the Mediterranean and that it is more isolated, with connections only to the Sea ofgered (CR), Endangered (EN), Vulnerable (VU), Near the status of the endemic cetacean species in the Black Azov through the Kerch Strait and to the MediterraneanThreatened (NT), Least Concern (LC), Data Deficient Sea, the conservation status of the only Mediterranean and the Sea of Marmara through the Bosphorus. The(DD) and Not Evaluated (NE) (see page 26). seal species (from the most recent assessment in 2008; seabed is divided into the shelf, which holds the greatest IUCN Pinniped Specialist Group), and the latest informa- abundance and diversity of species, and the continentalThe Red List Assessment is conducted at both global and tion available on marine turtles, published in 2010 (Casale slope and deep sea depression, where unique hydrochem-regional levels. Global status refers to the status of a partic- and Margaritoulis). Basic information is still lacking for ical conditions transform the seawater characteristicsular species worldwide, and regional status describes a some species (e.g. Ziphius cavirostris) and the on-going below a depth of 150  m down to the deepest parts atspecies’ likelihood of extinction in a particular region (i.e. data compilation will contribute to their future conserva- 2,200 m below the surface.the Mediterranean Region or the Black Sea Region). Due tion assessment. Finally, a reference list is provided of theto the different scale of analysis, the same species can be most important publications relating to this fauna and its Several factors determine the geographical distribution ofassigned to different categories, so that a species listed as conservation. marine mammals and sea turtles in both seas. Oceannot threatened at global level could be listed as threatened currents, abundance of food, sea temperature, morpholo-at regional level, and vice versa. gy of the coastline, seabed topography, as well as human THE MEDITERRANEAN AND BLACK SEAS activities, seem to interact and influence which areas areThis booklet presents information on the conservation preferred habitats for cetaceans, sea turtles and seals.status of the marine mammals and sea turtles that inhabit The Mediterranean is a semi-enclosed sea with diverse Certain habitats have a particular key value in the lifethe Mediterranean and Black Seas. Each species has previ- oceanographic dynamics and water circulation patterns cycles of different species, in that they are used for breed-ously been classified by IUCN at global level and here we (such as gyres, upwellings and fronts), which result in ing, as nursery grounds, for refuge, for overwintering or aspresent the first results of the regional assessment for surges of biological productivity in different places and at good foraging grounds due to prey abundance.those cetacean species resident in the Mediterranean Sea. different times. Its rich and unique biodiversity has led toIt also focuses on the main threats that affect their survival its recognition as one of the most important biodiversityand growth and makes recommendations to better hotspots in the world. The seafloor drops from extensivepreserve them. It presents brief details on resident species seagrass beds, rocky shores and sandy beaches to the 5.
  8. 8. Conservation status and distribution of marine mammals Cetaceans and Pinnipeds Conservation status and distribution of marine mammals Cetaceans Cetaceans are a group of marine mammals that includes whales, dolphins and porpoises. resident populations in the Mediterranean Sea, the three subspecies are endemic to the Black location, enabling them to navigate, identify prey and other cetaceans, and avoid predators. There are approximately 87 living species Sea (i.e. not found anywhere else in the world) divided into two major groups: the baleen and 12 are visitors and appear in these seas from Despite their popularity, little is known about whales (Mysticeti) and the toothed whales time to time. Scientists also believe that some of many cetacean species. On the following pages (Odontoceti). Baleen whales are among the the resident species may have evolved into we present the results of the assessment of the largest animals on earth. They have baleen genetically distinct subpopulations. conservation status of the cetaceans resident plates (sieve-like structures in the mouth) in the Mediterranean Sea as well as those from instead of teeth, which they use to filter small Whales and dolphins are mammals in that they the Black Sea and their status at global level. food items such as krill, herrings and crusta- breathe air, give birth to live young (not We also include a brief description of the main ceans from the seawater, and two blowholes hatched from eggs), nurse their calves with distinguishing features of each species as well (nostrils). In contrast, toothed whales have a milk, and are warm-blooded. They may segre- as the main threats to their survival to help single blowhole and teeth that they use to gate into groups according to sex and age or explain their importance and uniqueness. To catch larger animals such as squid and fish. live alone for most of the time. Some species accompany the Red List regional assessment, migrate long distances to reach good feeding the geographical distribution of each of the At present, 21 different cetacean species and grounds, to breed and nurse their calves or to resident cetacean species is mapped to show three subspecies have been sighted in the Medi- overwinter in certain areas. They make a wide where it occurs most frequently. terranean and Black Seas. Eight of these have array of sounds for communication and echo- Pinnipeds Seals, sea lions and walruses form the group of marine mammals known as Pinnipeds. All of Arctic and Antarctic to the warm tropical waters of the Equator. True seals are usually accidental entanglement in fishing gear or marine debris, as well as a reduction in suita- them share certain physical characteristics: a found in areas where there is little human ble habitat as a result of human development. hydrodynamic body shape that helps them to disturbance, hauling out on ice packs, beaches, move in the water, a thick layer of fat, and fur bays and shoreline rocks where food (fish, Nineteen species and several subspecies of covering their body. They have a pair of front squid, shellfish and crustaceans) is abundant. seals in this group are recognized worldwide. flippers and a pair of rear flippers forming a Some seal species are very social and live in They include the monk seals, of which only two tail-like structure, which helps them move on large groups while others, like the Mediterra- species remain: the Hawaiian Monk Seal, land and swim in the sea. nean Monk Seal, have a more solitary lifestyle. Monachus schauinslandi and the Mediterra- Mating takes place either on land or in the nean Monk Seal, Monachus monachus. The Seals also have other features that make them water. Females normally give birth to a single Mediterranean Monk Seal is the only pinniped well adapted to their particular lifestyle, such offspring, or pup, which feeds on its mother’s species inhabiting the Mediterranean region. as whiskers on their faces and very sensitive milk for the first month of life. Pup survival is This booklet presents some facts about the ears that help them to locate prey and recog- therefore strictly dependent on female survival species and its conservation status according nize their offspring. True seals (also called and is generally quite low. In many cases under to the last review conducted by the IUCN earless seals) are the most diverse and wide- 50% of the pups survive their first two months. Pinniped Specialist Group. spread of all the pinniped species and the most Seals also face a variety of threats throughout highly adapted to aquatic life. They can be their lives, including food shortages, shark found worldwide from the cold waters of the predation, deliberate killing by humans and.6
  9. 9. Marine Mammals · Cetaceans Mediterranean Sea residentsCommon Bottlenose DolphinTursiops truncatus BLACK SEA(Montagu, 1821) MEDITERR ANEAN SEA COMMON BOTTLENOSE DOLPHINS ARE FOUND ALONG MANY PARTS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN COAST (SEE HATCHED AREA ON MAP), WHERE THEY ARE THREATENED BY COMPETITION WITH COMMERCIAL FISHERIES, BY-CATCH IN DRIFTNETS AND WATER POLLUTIONBRIEF DESCRIPTION Common Bottlenose DolphinBottlenose Dolphins are probably the most familiar of the based on reliable estimates in areas that have been Tursiops truncatussmall cetaceans in the Mediterranean. These dolphins surveyed by experts. An overall decline in the populationusually live in small groups of 2–15 individuals, although seems likely, however, as in those regions where regularlarger groups have been reported on occasion, especially monitoring takes place there has been a steady decrease in TAXONOMIC CLASSIFICATION Average adult length 2–3.8 moffshore. They occur in marine and estuarine waters numbers in the areas where they are observed as well as Class: Mammaliaincluding inland deltas, subtidal aquatic beds, and reductions in their range and abundance (possibly by Order: Cetartiodactyla CURIOSITIESbrackish and saline lagoons. The range of habitats used by more than 30% since 1940). Cetacea (unranked)Bottlenose Dolphins includes inshore, coastal and Bottlenose Dolphins in coastal waters are Odontoceti (unranked)offshore waters as far as the continental slope throughout In the Adriatic Sea, for example, the population of frequently seen following trawlers, around Family: Delphinidaethe Mediterranean Sea. Common Bottlenose Dolphin is considered to have fish farm cages or taking fish from gillnets. Genus: Tursiops declined by at least 50% over the last 50 years as a conse- Species: truncatusPOPULATION STATUS, DISTRIBUTION quence of past killing by the fishing industry and reducedAND MAIN THREATS food availability caused by overfishing and environmentalThere is no overall estimate of the Mediterranean popula- degradation. Other major threats that currently put thetion. Little information exists on the distribution and survival of the species at risk are entanglement in fishing CAN BE CONFUSED WITH... BUT...abundance of Common Bottlenose Dolphin in the eastern gear and the accumulation of toxins in their bodies fromand southern parts of the Mediterranean basin. The total chemical pollution. Risso’s Dolphin [p. 11] • Forehead distinctly separated from theMediterranean population may be in the low 10,000s, snout by a crease • Dorsal fin less sickle-shaped • Absence of scratch marks on the body • Darker dorsal colourIUCN RED LISTMediterranean status: VulnerableGlobal status: Least Concern 7.
  10. 10. Marine Mammals · Cetaceans Mediterranean Sea residents Cuvier’s Beaked Whale Ziphius cavirostris Genoa Canyons BLACK SEA G. Cuvier, 1823 MEDITERR ANEAN SEA THESE RARELY SEEN WHALES OF DEEP, OPEN WATERS ARE SIGHTED MOST OFTEN IN CERTAIN AREAS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN (SEE HATCHED AREA ON MAP). THIS SPECIES IS CRITICALLY AFFECTED BY HUMAN IMPACTS ON THE SEA, SUCH AS LITTER (WHICH IT SWALLOWS), UNDERWATER MINERAL PROSPECTING AND MILITARY SONAR BRIEF DESCRIPTION Cuvier’s Beaked Whale Cuvier’s Beaked Whale is a predominantly oceanic species those sites where they have been found regularly. The Ziphius cavirostris that moves in groups of at least 2–3 individuals. It prefers Genoa canyons in the western Ligurian Sea, for example, offshore areas containing submarine canyons, seamounts seem to attract the whales because of the high productivity and escarpments, where it can feed on its preferred diet of of deep-sea squid in the area. TAXONOMIC CLASSIFICATION Average adult length less than 7 m deep-sea squid and some fish. This species is character- Class: Mammalia ized by its stout body and small sloping head with a short Cuvier´s Beaked Whales are very vulnerable to underwater Order: Cetartiodactyla CURIOSITIES beak and curved mouth giving this whale its characteristic noise produced by military and seismic exploration sonar, Cetacea (unranked) S-shaped grin. Adults’ bodies are generally covered with which affects the whales’ communication and orientation. Adult male Cuvier’s Beaked Whales have a Odontoceti (unranked) scratches, probably due to aggression during the mating Mortalities also occur from ingestion of plastic debris and pair of teeth at the tip of the lower jaw. They Family: Ziphiidae season. occasional by-catch in fishing driftnets. are thought to be used during contests over Genus: Ziphius females during the mating season. The Species: cavirostris POPULATION STATUS, DISTRIBUTION males’ bodies are covered with scratches. AND MAIN THREATS Although relatively common in some areas, little is known about this species and much of our current information is CAN BE CONFUSED WITH... BUT... from strandings (animals found on the shore). The main areas of particular concern—the eastern Ligurian Sea, the Blainville’s Beaked Whale [p. 19] • Stouter body eastern Alboran Sea and the Hellenic Trench—relate to • Shorter beak • Blunter head Gervais’ Beaked Whale [p. 19] • Lighter body colour • Males with pale areas on the belly and IUCN RED LIST head Mediterranean status: Data Deficient Global status: Least Concern.8
  11. 11. Marine Mammals · Cetaceans Mediterranean Sea residentsFin WhaleBalaenoptera physalus Corso-Ligurian Basin BLACK SEA(Linnaeus, 1758) MEDITERR ANEAN SEA FOUND MOST COMMONLY IN OFFSHORE DEEP WATERS IN THE WESTERN AND CENTRAL MEDITERRANEAN (SEE HATCHED AREA ON MAP). THE BIGGEST THREATS TO FIN WHALES ARE BY-CATCH IN FISHING NETS, DISTURBANCE BY RECREATIONAL VESSELS AND NOISE FROM SHIPPINGBRIEF DESCRIPTION Fin WhaleThe Fin Whale is the most common large whale species Gulf of Lion. Its current population in the Mediterranean is Balaenoptera physalusin the Mediterranean Sea and the second largest animal believed to be close to 5,000 adults. The Pelagos Sanctuary,on earth (after the Blue Whale), with adults reaching the largest marine protected area for Mediterraneanlengths of up to 25 m and weights of up to 85 t. In spite of marine mammals, situated between Italy, France and the TAXONOMIC CLASSIFICATION Average adult length 13–19 mtheir size, they are fast-moving animals, swimming at island of Sardinia, has witnessed a dramatic decline in Fin Class: Mammaliaspeeds of up to 50 km per hour. Fin Whales usually live in Whales, from 900 individuals reported in 1992 to only 147 Order: Cetartiodactyla CURIOSITIESsmall groups, but occasionally form schools of hundreds in 2009. They are also known to congregate in late Febru- Cetacea (unranked)of individuals, especially in productive areas on the high ary and early March in the coastal waters off the island of The throat of Fin Whales can expand enor- Mysticeti (unranked)seas, where they feed mainly on small shrimp-like crea- Lampedusa (Italy), in the Strait of Sicily, to feed mostly on mously during feeding to engulf a huge Family: Balaenopteridaetures called krill and schooling fish. Their distribution in the krill species Nyctiphanes couchii, a small crustacean. mouthful of water and filter out food Genus: Balaenopterathe western and central Mediterranean Sea is believed to Fin Whales may fall victim to ship strikes, particularly from consisting of tiny crustaceans and fishes. Species: physalusbe related to water depth and circulation patterns, high-speed ferries. Further threats include high levels ofaffecting the presence of their prey. DDT (an organochlorine insecticide) in their tissues, which can affect their reproduction and immune system,POPULATION STATUS, DISTRIBUTION possibly unregulated whale watching, and acoustic distur- CAN BE CONFUSED WITH... BUT...AND MAIN THREATS bance from seismic surveys.The species occurs mostly in deep offshore waters from Sei Whale [p. 17] • Characteristic light grey V-shaped patchnorth-east of the Balearic Islands to the Ionian Sea. It is behind the headparticularly abundant in the Corso-Ligurian Basin and • Left side of lower jaw is dark and right side is whiteIUCN RED LISTMediterranean status: VulnerableGlobal status: Endangered 9.
  12. 12. Marine Mammals · Cetaceans Mediterranean Sea residents Long-finned Pilot Whale Globicephala melas BLACK SEA (Traill, 1809) MEDITERR ANEAN SEA COMMON IN THE WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN (SEE HATCHED AREA ON MAP), ESPECIALLY IN THE ALBORAN SEA. PILOT WHALES ARE THREATENED BY MARITIME TRAFFIC DISTURBANCE, FISHING ACTIVITIES, POLLUTION AND HIGH-INTENSITY UNDERWATER NOISE FROM NAVAL SONAR AND SEISMIC EXPLORATION Long-finned Pilot Whale Globicephala melas BRIEF DESCRIPTION Long-finned Pilot Whales are among the largest members hundred to a few thousand individuals. However, the of the dolphin family, and are commonly seen in tight, only available estimate of abundance is for a potentially TAXONOMIC CLASSIFICATION Average adult length 5–7 m sociable groups of 9–23 individuals exhibiting similar resident group of 260–270 individuals in the Strait of Class: Mammalia social behaviour to Killer Whales. Their globose head, Gibraltar (1999–2005). Order: Cetartiodactyla CURIOSITIES long flippers and white anchor-shaped patch on the Cetacea (unranked) chest make them easily identifiable. They feed offshore The main threats to Long-finned Pilot Whales include These dolphins have strong family bonds: Odontoceti (unranked) on deep-sea squid, other cephalopods and small pelagic mortality as a result of by-catch in commercial fisheries, when an animal dies or falls ill, the rest of the Family: Delphinidae fish using echolocation tactics to help them find food. collisions with ships, man-made noises such as sonar group tends to follow it. That is why mass Genus: Globicephala that interfere with their central nervous system causing strandings on the shore are so common for Species: melas POPULATION STATUS, DISTRIBUTION neurological disorders, harassment by people during this species. AND MAIN THREATS whale watching, and the toxic effects of chemical pollution. The known areas of special concern for this species are in the western Mediterranean Sea, including the Strait of CAN BE CONFUSED WITH... BUT... Gibraltar. The subpopulation of Mediterranean Long- finned Pilot Whales is especially common in the waters of False Killer Whale [p. 16] • Noticeably globose head the Alboran Sea, where there are possibly several • Long pectoral fins • White anchor-shaped patch on the chest • Low, wide-based, sickle-shaped dorsal fin IUCN RED LIST Mediterranean status: Data Deficient Global status: Data Deficient.10
  13. 13. Marine Mammals · Cetaceans Mediterranean Sea residentsRisso’s DolphinGrampus griseus Corso-Ligurian Basin BLACK SEA(G. Cuvier, 1812) MEDITERR ANEAN SEA LITTLE KNOWN DOLPHIN, WIDELY DISTRIBUTED IN THE MEDITERRANEAN AND MOST OFTEN SIGHTED IN RICH PELAGIC WATERS (SEE HATCHED AREA ON MAP). POPULATIONS ARE PROBABLY BEING AFFECTED BY ENTANGLEMENT IN FISHING GEAR, POLLUTION AND UNDERWATER NOISE Risso’s DolphinBRIEF DESCRIPTION Grampus griseusRisso’s Dolphin is a widely distributed species found in Balearic Sea. No information is available for the southerndeep waters, in particular around seamounts and escarp- Mediterranean Sea. The latest scientific studies suggestments, where it is thought to feed on cephalopods such that the Risso´s Dolphins in the Mediterranean form a TAXONOMIC CLASSIFICATION Average adult length 3–4 mas squid. It usually moves in small groups of 2–45 animals, distinct population that differs from the Atlantic Risso´s Class: Mammaliaor up to 100 individuals on occasion. Nonetheless, it can Dolphins. They appear to favour deep offshore waters, in Order: Cetartiodactyla CURIOSITIESalso be encountered singly or in large groups that can particular those over steep shelf slopes and submarine Cetacea (unranked)number from 200 to 1,000 individuals. The species is canyons. No specific data on large-scale population distri- The scratches and scars on a Risso’s Odontoceti (unranked)easily identifiable by its bulbous head and peculiar, deep, bution, abundance or trends over time are available as Dolphin’s body are inflicted by other Family: DelphinidaeV-shaped crease extending from the blowhole to the tip these animals are not usually seen in groups near coasts. dolphins or the sharp beaks of squid while Genus: Grampusof the rostrum. Moreover, its body is marked with This makes them hard to study and further information is feeding. Species: griseusscratches and scars, which increase with age. needed to assess whether the species is declining.POPULATION STATUS, DISTRIBUTION Risso´s Dolphins are frequently found entangled inAND MAIN THREATS fishing gear such as longlines and gillnets and they are CAN BE CONFUSED WITH... BUT...Risso´s Dolphin is widely distributed in the Mediterrane- also threatened by chemical pollutants and underwateran Sea, although most frequently sighted in the western noise pollution such as that produced by boats and sonar False Killer Whale [p. 16] • Characteristic pale-coloured and exten-basin, Ligurian-Corso-Provençal basin, northern Alboran equipment. sively white scarred bodySea, southern Tyrrhenian Sea and occasionally the • Squared head without a beak • White anchor-shaped patch on the chestIUCN RED LISTMediterranean status: Data DeficientGlobal status: Least Concern 11.
  14. 14. Marine Mammals · Cetaceans Mediterranean Sea residents Short-beaked Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis BLACK SEA Linnaeus, 1758 Sicily Channel MEDITERR ANEAN SEA A VERY COMMON DOLPHIN IN THE PAST, BUT TODAY IT IS COMMON ONLY IN THE WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN (SEE HATCHED AREA ON MAP). REDUCTIONS IN PREY POPULATIONS, POLLUTION, BY-CATCH IN FISHING GEAR AND CLIMATE CHANGE ARE THE MAIN THREATS TO ITS ENDANGERED POPULATIONS BRIEF DESCRIPTION Short-beaked Common Dolphin The Short-beaked Common Dolphin is characterized by an Israel; whereas it has apparently vanished from many Delphinus delphis hourglass pattern on the flanks, which makes it easy to areas of the Mediterranean including the Adriatic Sea, distinguish. The species can be found both offshore, where Balearic Sea, Provençal basin and Ligurian Sea. As with there are steep slopes (such as escarpments) and nutrients, many cetacean species, little is known about their presence TAXONOMIC CLASSIFICATION Average adult length 2–2.2 m and in coastal waters. They are rarely sighted near the in the waters along the North African coast. Class: Mammalia shore. Sometimes they are seen in mixed groups with other Order: Cetartiodactyla CURIOSITIES dolphin species forming aggregations of 50–70 individuals. The decline in numbers of Common Dolphins in the Cetacea (unranked) Using echolocation and group hunting techniques, the Mediterranean could be a consequence of prey depletion Females have been seen to assist other Odontoceti (unranked) Common Dolphin primarily feeds on schooling fishes. by commercial fisheries, by-catch in gillnets (drift gill- dolphins during birth, as well as with daily Family: Delphinidae nets), habitat degradation, noise pollution, environmental infant care. Genus: Delphinus POPULATION STATUS, DISTRIBUTION changes and high loads of pollutants, including PCBs Species: delphis AND MAIN THREATS and heavy metals, which accumulate in their tissues and Once a very common species, the Mediterranean popula- are thought to cause immune suppression, reproductive tion of Common Dolphins has declined by more than 50% impairment and ultimately death. in the past 30–45 years. However, there is very limited CAN BE CONFUSED WITH... BUT... information on population size and trends for this species. The species is today relatively abundant in the Alboran Striped Dolphin [p. 14] • The pale yellow and grey hourglass pat- Sea, off western Sardinia, in the Sicily Channel around tern on the sides readily distinguishes the Malta, in the eastern Ionian Sea, in the Aegean Sea, and off species from any other. IUCN RED LIST Mediterranean status: Endangered Global status: Least Concern.12
  15. 15. Marine Mammals · Cetaceans Mediterranean Sea residentsSperm WhalePhyseter macrocephalus BLACK SEALinnaeus, 1758 Strait of Messina MEDITERR ANEAN SEA THE MEDITERRANEAN POPULATION OF SPERM WHALES HAS DECLINED OVER THE PAST 20 YEARS. ENTANGLEMENT IN FISHING GEAR, VESSEL STRIKES AND DISTURBANCE BY INTENSE BOAT AND SHIP TRAFFIC ARE THE PRIMARY CAUSES OF ITS ENDANGERED CONSERVATION STATUSBRIEF DESCRIPTION Sperm WhaleSperm Whales are the largest toothed whales on earth, and estimate of population size, it is thought that the total Physeter macrocephalusthere are large differences in body size between males and number of Sperm Whales in the Mediterranean basinfemales (with females a third shorter and half as heavy as amounts to only a few hundred individuals. Nevertheless,males). They occur mostly on continental slopes, where there is evidence thatSperm Whales were once common TAXONOMIC CLASSIFICATION Average adult length (males) 16–18 mthey can dive very deep to feed, mostly on cephalopods. in some parts of the Mediterranean, such as in the Strait of Class: MammaliaThey can descend to more than 1,000 m and stay Messina and the waters of the Aeolian Islands (coast of Order: Cetartiodactyla CURIOSITIESsubmerged for over an hour, although on average their Sicily) at least until the 1950s, where they could be seen in Cetacea (unranked)dives are 20–50 minutes long at depths of 300–600 m. They large aggregations of as many as 30 individuals. Nowadays The Sperm Whale is truly an animal of Odontoceti (unranked)are highly migratory and the males, which generally have a such sightings are rare. Over the last decade increasingly extremes. It has the largest brain and the Family: Physeteridaesolitary lifestyle, migrate to join the female groups during frequent reports of annual strandings (stranded, floating longest intestine of any animal on the Genus: Physeterthe breeding season. The most distinctive feature of the dead or entangled Sperm Whales) from France and Italy planet. Species: macrocephalusspecies is the huge squared head. point to a considerable decline in the number of individu- als in the region. Sperm Whales are mainly threatened byPOPULATION STATUS, DISTRIBUTION entanglement in fishing gear (especially swordfish driftAND MAIN THREATS gillnets and tuna driftnets), ship strikes and disturbance by CAN BE CONFUSED WITH... BUT...Sperm Whales are widely distributed in the Mediterrane- maritime traffic.an Sea. The Mediterranean subpopulation, which is not Humpback Whale [p. 16] • Underside of flippers not white (as in thewell studied, seems to have some social behavioural habits Humpback Whale)that differ in other seas. Even though there is no reliable • Broad, massive head • Spatulate flippersIUCN RED LISTMediterranean status: EndangeredGlobal status: Vulnerable 13.
  16. 16. Marine Mammals · Cetaceans Mediterranean Sea residents Striped Dolphin Stenella coeruleoalba BLACK SEA (Meyen, 1833) MEDITERR ANEAN SEA THE MOST COMMON DOLPHIN IN THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA (SEE HATCHED AREA ON MAP). HABITAT DEGRADATION CAUSED BY AGRICULTURAL PESTICIDES AND ANTIFOULING PAINTS, WATER POLLUTION AND COMMERCIAL FISHERIES POSE SIGNIFICANT THREATS TO THIS SPECIES BRIEF DESCRIPTION Striped Dolphin Striped Dolphins are characterized by a pattern of blue- an Sea, was estimated at 117,880 individuals in 1991. The Stenella coeruleoalba grey and white stripes and blazes along the lateral and high number of presumed fatalities in the following years, dorsal sides of the body. The Striped Dolphin is an oceanic due to the factors outlined below, and the limited regional species which often travels in large groups, preferring monitoring means there is no reliable, up-to-date infor- TAXONOMIC CLASSIFICATION Average adult length 2–2.2 m highly productive open waters beyond the continental mation on their actual abundance. In the past, many shelf that are rich in food. It can also be found close to Striped Dolphins were hunted for their meat, which was Class: Mammalia shore where the waters are relatively deep. It feeds on a used as bait for shrimp traps and long lines. A disease Order: Cetartiodactyla CURIOSITIES wide variety of small fish, especially lanternfish, and squid, outbreak in 1990–1992, caused by a morbillivirus, devas- Cetacea (unranked) The species is highly active; it can do amazing which it can catch by diving down to 200 m. tated a large proportion of the population, causing many Odontoceti (unranked) acrobatics and leap up to 7 m above the sea deaths. The absorption of high concentrations of organo- Family: Delphinidae surface. POPULATION STATUS, DISTRIBUTION chlorine pollutants derived from agricultural pesticides Genus: Stenella AND MAIN THREATS and the continuous use of pelagic drift nets may all be Species: coeruleoalba Striped Dolphins are the most abundant and one of the responsible for the decline of striped dolphin populations best known cetaceans in the Mediterranean, in both the in the Mediterranean. western and the eastern basins. The species is particularly CAN BE CONFUSED WITH... BUT... common in the Ligurian Sea, Gulf of Lion, the Alboran Sea and the waters between the Balearic Islands and the Short-beaked Common Dolphin [p. 12] • Its unique colour pattern (dark grey back, Iberian Peninsula. The Western Mediterranean subpopu- light grey flanks and pinkish white belly) lation of Striped Dolphins, excluding that of the Tyrrheni- readily distinguishes the species from any other. IUCN RED LIST Mediterranean status: Vulnerable Global status: Least Concern.14
  17. 17. Marine Mammals · Cetaceans Black Sea residentsBlack Sea Bottlenose Dolphin Black Sea Common Dolphin Black Sea Harbour PorpoiseTursiops truncatus ponticus Delphinus delphis ponticus Phocoena phocoena relictaBarabash-Nikiforov, 1940 Barabash-Nikiforov, 1935 Abel, 1905The dolphins that live in the Black Sea are genetically and morpho- The Common Dolphin is found in all tropical and warm-temper- This subspecies of Harbour Porpoise inhabits mainly shallowlogically distinct from other Bottlenose Dolphin populations in ate waters, but scientific evidence suggests the Black Sea popula- waters over the continental shelf around the entire Black Sea coast,the eastern and western Mediterranean and north-eastern Atlan- tion is a distinct subspecies. These dolphins do not look physically but sometimes it can also be found far offshore in deep waters.tic; hence they are recognized as an endemic subspecies found different from the common dolphins in the Mediterranean. The Some individuals make annual migrations, leaving the Sea of Azovnowhere else. The total population size is unknown but is likely to subspecies occurs almost throughout the Black Sea, except for the and north-western Black Sea before winter and returning in spring.be less than 1,000. The species occurs throughout the Black Sea Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov. Bulgarian and Russian fishermen The primary wintering areas are in the south-eastern Black Sea,area, including the Kerch Strait, the Sea of Azov and the Turkish used to catch large numbers of these dolphins in the Black Sea for where most of the Black Sea porpoise population congregates everyStraits. Different groups of Bottlenose Dolphin migrate and gather meat and oil. It is estimated that 440,000 Common Dolphins were year. These winter feeding grounds coincide with those of theevery autumn in the waters south of Crimea (Cape Fiolent–Cape slaughtered in 1958–66 and 365,000 in the preceding 12 years. The anchovy, an important prey species for harbour porpoises duringSarych) and in other areas off the Russian, Georgian and Turkish fishery ended by the mid-1960s after Common Dolphins became the cold season. Until 1983, unregulated hunting was the primarycoasts. In the past, the population was subject to extensive so rare that it was no longer commercially viable to hunt them; the threat to the species and led to a dramatic reduction in numbers.commercial slaughter. Commercial hunting of Black Sea ceta- population nearly collapsed and disappeared entirely. There has The decline continues, caused by entanglement in fishing gearceans was banned in 1966 and nowadays accidental mortality is been some recovery since, and although the present population (bottom-set gillnets), ship strikes, habitat degradation and deple-mainly due to fishing gear like bottom-set gillnets, purse seines, size is unknown, it may consist of tens of thousands of individuals. tion of their food source. Moreover, four mass mortality events intrammel nets and trap nets. Other causes, such as depleted stocks Current threats to these dolphins in the Black Sea are overfishing the past 20 years killed several thousand individuals. Survey resultsof their prey species and exotic diseases due to increasing sewage of their main prey species (anchovies and sprats) and increasing suggest that the current population numbers at least several thou-pollution, have been identified as the main threats to the survival water eutrophication, as well as disease. sand and possibly a few tens of thousands.of this endangered subspecies.TAXONOMIC CLASSIFICATION TAXONOMIC CLASSIFICATION TAXONOMIC CLASSIFICATIONClass: Mammalia Family: Delphinidae Class: Mammalia Family: Delphinidae Class: Mammalia Family: PhocoenidaeOrder: Cetartiodactyla Genus: Tursiops Order: Cetartiodactyla Genus: Delphinus Order: Cetartiodactyla Genus: PhocoenaCetacea (unranked) Species: truncatus ssp. ponticus Cetacea (unranked) Species: delphis ssp. ponticus Cetacea (unranked) Species: phocoena ssp. relictaOdontoceti (unranked) Odontoceti (unranked) Odontoceti (unranked)IUCN RED LIST IUCN RED LIST IUCN RED LISTGlobal status: Endangered Global status: Vulnerable Global status: Endangered 15.
  18. 18. Marine Mammals · Cetaceans Visitors & vagrants Common Minke Whale Humpback Whale False Killer Whale Balaenoptera acutorostrata Megaptera novaeangliae Pseudorca crassidens Lacépède, 1804 (Borowski, 1781) (Owen, 1846) The Common Minke Whale is the smallest member of the rorqual The Humpback Whale is a highly migratory species that under- The False Killer Whale is a typical inhabitant of open oceanic family of whales. It is found in all oceans and in both coastal and takes long journeys between high-latitude summer feeding waters, although it can also be found over steep slopes and in offshore waters, though it seems to prefer the more icy waters of grounds and tropical winter breeding grounds. The species tends continental shelf waters, especially at low latitudes. It is highly polar regions. The species only occurs as a visitor in the Mediter- to live in small groups. Both feeding and breeding occur in shal- social and typically lives in pods (groups) of 10–20 individuals, ranean Sea. North Atlantic individuals occasionally enter the low waters, while migration routes take these whales across deep often consisting of several females, their calves, one or more Mediterranean through the Strait of Gibraltar (less than one oceanic waters. It is not rare to see them breaching fully out of the males and/or juveniles. They feed primarily on cephalopods and record per year on average) and are usually found over the conti- water. fish but are also known to attack other cetacean species for food. nental shelf. Since only a few animals have been sighted, very little They are cooperative hunters and frequently share their prey. is known about their behaviour compared to other whales in the Humpback Whales are rare visitors to the Mediterranean Sea (31 False Killer Whales are rare in the Mediterranean basin, where region. They mostly feed on krill, copepods and small schools of sighting and stranding events have been recorded), when indi- individuals and small groups may stray from the Atlantic and fish. They are still commercially hunted in other seas, but there is viduals from the North Atlantic occasionally enter the region. An perhaps from the Red Sea through the Suez Canal. No viable no indication that the population is presently endangered. increase in the number of Humpbacks in the Mediterranean has populations are known to live in the Mediterranean or Black Seas. been observed in recent years, however, with one record approxi- The main threats are currently direct and incidental catches by mately every year and a half. It is not known if these whales are fishing boats, noise disturbance from boats and sonar equipment, able to find their way back to the Atlantic or if they stay in the and pollution. Mediterranean. The species is completely absent from the Sea of Marmara and Black Sea. TAXONOMIC CLASSIFICATION TAXONOMIC CLASSIFICATION TAXONOMIC CLASSIFICATION Class: Mammalia Family: Balaneopteridae Class: Mammalia Family: Balaenopteridae Class: Mammalia Family: Delphinidae Order: Cetartiodactyla Genus: Balaenoptera Order: Cetartiodactyla Genus: Megaptera Order: Cetartiodactyla Genus: Pseudorca Cetacea (unranked) Species: acutorostrata Cetacea (unranked) Species: novaeangliae Cetacea (unranked) Species: crassidens Mysticeti (unranked) Mysticeti (unranked) Odontoceti (unranked) IUCN RED LIST IUCN RED LIST IUCN RED LIST Global status: Least Concern Global status: Least Concern Global status: Data Deficient.16
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