The Fishes of the Mediterranean: A Biota Under Siege

  • Menachem GorenEmail author


This chapter summarizes and presents an overall view of the various aspects of the native Mediterranean fish diversity. The Mediterranean Sea is a land-locked sea, comprising ca. 0.7 % of the hydrosphere area hosting ca. 5 % of the world’s marine fish species and supplies ca. 1 % of the global marine catch. Eight percent of the fish species in the Mediterranean have been categorized as regionally threatened.

The total number of native marine fish species in the Mediterranean (May 2012) is 580 belonging to 151 families. The classes Myxini and Holocephali are represented in the Mediterranean by a single family and a single species each; The Cephalaspidomorphi by a single family and with two species; the Elasmobranchii (cartilaginous fish) by 24 families and 81 species; the Actinopterygii (bony fishes) is represented in the Mediterranean by 124 families and 495 species.

The total number of reported deep-sea fishes (below 1,000 m) is 60, belonging to 33 families.

The near-shore regions along the European coast, from Spain to Italy (including the Adriatic Sea), are the richest parts of the sea with 360–460 fish species. The near-shore poorest parts are most of Egyptian and eastern Libyan coasts with 200–270 species.


Mediterranean Biodiversity Marine fishes Nanism Deep sea fishes 



 I am grateful to Naomi Paz for editing the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Zoology, George S. Wise Faculty of Life SciencesTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael

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