The non-indigenous Paranthura japonica Richardson, 1909 in the Mediterranean Sea: travelling with shellfish?
SORBE, J. C.
European Community, Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2011-2014)
project "Vectors of Change in Oceans and Seas Marine Life, Impact on Economic Sectors" (VECTORS)
An anthurid isopod new to the Mediterranean Sea has recently been observed in samples from three localities of the Italian coast: the Lagoon of Venice (North Adriatic Sea), La Spezia (Ligurian Sea) and Olbia (Sardinia, Tyrrhenian Sea). The specimens collected showed strong affinity to a species originally described from the NW Pacific Ocean: Paranthura japonica Richardson, 1909. The comparison with specimens collected from the Bay of Arcachon (Atlantic coast of France), where P. japonica had been recently reported as non-indigenous, confirmed the identity of the species. This paper reports the most relevant morphological details of the Italian specimens, data on the current distribution of the species and a discussion on the pathways responsible for its introduction. The available data suggest that the presence of this Pacific isopod in several regions of coastal Europe might be due to a series of aquaculture-mediated introduction events that occurred during the last decades of the 1900s. Since then, established populations of P. japonica, probably misidentified, remained unnoticed for a long time.