, Volume 73, Issue 6, pp 609–614 | Cite as

Pachygrapsus maurus and Pachygrapsus transversus (Crustacea: Decapoda) in the central Mediterranean: new colonizers or overlooked species?

  • Salvatore GiacobbeEmail author
  • Medea Lo Piccolo
  • Fabio Crocetta
Short Communication


The warm-Atlantic crabs Pachygrapsus maurus (Lucas, 1846) and P. transversus (Gibbes, 1850) are two congeneric species showing a tendentially disjoined distribution in the Mediterranean Sea, with cores in the Algero-Provencal and Levantine basins, and sporadic records elsewhere. In the north-central Mediterranean, first records of these taxa date back centuries ago, but subsequently they were no longer reported for almost a century. We hereby report their additional spread in central Mediterranean and discuss the recent proliferation of sightings in the area. The recently ascertained occurrence of both species in the Strait of Messina confirms that some less stenotherm taxa of tropical/subtropical origin may colonize some sheltered habitats despite cooling of surface water due to the local upwelling. By contrast, the different settlement success observed so far in the north-central Tyrrhenian Sea showed that P. maurus might be able to further spread and colonize the entire area, whereas P. transversus might be hampered by interspecific competition with the autochthonous P. marmoratus further than climatic constraints.


Mediterranean Sea Zoogeography Brachyura Faunal change Niche overlapping 



This study was supported by the Department of Chemical, Biological, Pharmaceutical and Environmental Sciences, University of Messina, Italy (Research Programm “ORME09Y JE”).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

In this article all applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.

Sampling and Field Studies have been authorized by the “Provincia Regionale di Messina”, official management body of the reserve (permission n. 557/VIII DIR, 12.03.2014).

Facilities have been provided by the mussel farm FARAU s.r.l.

Supplementary material

11756_2018_68_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (196 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 196 kb)


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Copyright information

© Institute of Zoology, Slovak Academy of Sciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical, Biological, Pharmaceutical and Environmental SciencesUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly
  2. 2.Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn – Villa ComunaleNaplesItaly

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