Pica et al. 2022

scientific article | Eur Zool J | open access

Cheilostomatida (Bryozoa) from the Ionian Apulian coast (Italy) with the description of new species

Pica D, Berning B, Calicchio R


The mesophotic zone is a relatively poorly studied area of the Mediterranean Sea, drawing great interest by the scientific community in the last years. This zone represents a connection between the shallow water and the deep-sea communities, in which photophilic framework builders (e.g. coralline red algae) are gradually replaced by heterotrophic ones, such as ahermatypic corals and the bivalve Neopycnodonte cochlear. In this habitat the framework-forming organisms produce a hard substrate with a high topographic complexity, hosting a great biodiversity of secondary structuring taxa like bryozoans. During a survey on coralligenous banks in the mesophotic zone in c. 60 m depth off Gallipoli (southern Apulia), epibiotic aggregations of N. cochlear were found on the fans of the hexacoral Savalia savaglia. In the present paper the diversity of cheilostomatid bryozoans hosted by these bivalve aggregations is described and compared with published information on similar nearby habitats. A total of 48 taxa were found, six of which are newly described: Crassimarginatella matildae sp. nov., Micropora biopesiula sp. nov., Haplopoma celeste sp. nov., Schizomavella (Schizomavella) cerranoi sp. nov., Schizomavella (Calvetomavella) biancae sp. nov., and Schizoporella adelaide sp. nov. The species richness known from the southern Apulian shelf at this depth (47 species) is hereby raised to 83 cheilostomatid bryozoans. Moreover, only 12 species are shared with the other localities studied previously, while 36 are restricted to Gallipoli, supporting the hypothesis of a high rate of exclusivity among Apulian sites in terms of species composition. The differences in faunal composition, and particularly the presence of several new species discovered at Gallipoli, show once more that our knowledge of the bryozoan fauna in certain Mediterranean habitats is still incomplete and warrants further studies.

Depth range
60- 60 m

Mesophotic “mentions”
33 x (total of 16693 words)

* Presents original data
* Reports new species
* Focused on 'mesophotic' depth range
* Focused on 'temperate mesophotic ecosystem'


Other invertebrates

Italy - Adriatic-Ionian

SCUBA (open-circuit or unspecified)

Author profiles