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Title: A review of the fish fauna of Maltese waters based on field data
Authors: Schembri, Titian
Keywords: Fishes -- Malta
Animals -- Malta
Marine animals -- Malta
Issue Date: 2001
Citation: Schembri, T. (2001). A review of the fish fauna of Maltese waters based on field data (Master's dissertation).
Abstract: This study is the result of four years of field and laboratory work on the taxonomy and identification of the fish fauna of the Maltese Islands. This work includes the description of 30 species of sharks from 12 Families, 10 species of rays from 6 Families and 117 species of bony fish under 46 Families. Five species, Apterichthus anguiformis, Belone svetovidovi, Dentex macrocannus, Lobotes surinamensis, and Pagellus belotti belotti, are new records for the Maltese Islands. Illustrated dichotomous keys for distinguishing between sharks, rays and bony fish, and for the identification of species within each group are also provided. Previous records from the Maltese Islands, the material examined during the present study, local names, maximum length, and ecological data from the literature as well as from fieldwork carried out as part of this study, are given for each species together with notes on the diagnostic features required for accurate identification. Habit drawings, based on actual specimens, and diagrams showing details of important diagnostic features are also given, as well as explanatory diagrams illustrating the morphology of such features. Previous compilations by contemporary authors were also analysed and compared to the data collected in this study. It was found that these publications include a number of species that are not strictly part of the local fauna. These species need to be reviewed as their inclusion is based on old records that might not still be valid for the Maltese Islands. The species recorded are compared to records from other parts of the Mediterranean, namely the Sicilian coast, the Far and Near Eastern Mediterranean and the Western Mediterranean. This was done to study the biogeography of the species recorded. It was found that a great part of the fish fauna recorded for the Maltese Islands is also found in the Western Mediterranean, but that the overlap with the Eastern Mediterranean is less. This is attributed to a number of physical and biogeographical factors and to the colonisation of the Far Eastern Mediterranean by Lessepsian migrants. An analysis of the landings of commercially important fish over the last 40 years was also made. Data were obtained from the Central Office of Statistics and the Fisheries Department. An estimation of the general trends for fish landings (in kg) and Catch per Unit Effort was done. This showed that there is an overall decreasing trend in fish catches, especially since the mid-seventies. The results of this analysis are however not accurate due to inadequate records collected by the authorities.
Description: M.SC.BIOLOGY
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacSci - 1966-2014
Dissertations - FacSciBio - 1966-2014

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