First record of the spotted sea hare Aplysia dactylomela Rang, 1828 in the south Mediterranean coast (Kuriat Islands, Tunisia)

Mehdi Aissi, Ibrahim Ben Amer, Syrine Moslah, Yassine Ramzi Sghaier

Specially Protected Areas Regional Activity Centre for (SPA/RAC), Boulevard du Leader Yasser Arafat, BP 337, 1080 Tunis Cedex, TUNISIA
Faculty of Natural Resources and Environmental Science, Omar Mukhtar University, El-Bayda, LIBYA
Notre Grand Bleu, Résidence Kairouan, Cap Marina, 5000, Monastir, TUNISIA


The spotted sea hare Aplysia dactylomela Rang 1828 was recorded for the first time in the Mediterranean Sea in 2002. This non-native species then spread rapidly eastwards from the waters surrounding Lampedusa Island to reach the Levantine coast, following the main Mediterranean current movement. Despite the colonization of the eastern Mediterranean basin in numerous localities, no sightings were reported from the western Mediterranean basin. In July 2017, two specimens of this species were sighted about 1 m depth surrounding the future MPA of Kuriat Islands. The observation was made during the implementation of the national Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme (IMAP) in Tunisia related to the biodiversity component.

Keywords: Spotted sea hare, Kuriat Islands, Tunisia, coastal MPA, IMAP, Ecosystem Approach process

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