Morphological Traits and Capture Depth of the Norwegian Skate (Dipturus nidarosiensis (Storm, 1881)) from Two Mediterranean Populations

Norwegian skate Morphology Bathymetric distribution Deep-sea batoids Central-western Mediterranean Sea


The Norwegian skate Dipturus nidarosiensis (Storm, 1881) has only recently been recorded in the western-central Mediterranean Sea. It was hypothed a more ancient presence of the species, which has not been detected due to a misidentification with other species of the same genus. This situation could lead to underestimate the risk of a dramatic decline of the spawning stock. In the IUCN Red List, the species is listed as near threatened and considered rare in both the northeast Atlantic and the Mediterranean areas. In the Mediterranean Sea, Norwegian skates were repeatedly caught mostly in two areas between 2005 and 2020: Sardinia Seas and Adriatic-Ionian Seas. In total, 58 specimens were caught, and 28 morphological length measurements were taken on all specimens. The Canonical Discriminant Analysis proved the presence of significant differences only for assemblages made on the basis of the specimen’s area of capture, but not on the basis of sex or ontogenetic development. This analysis could be the first step to highlight the differences between the populations of Norwegian skate in the Mediterranean basin. Moreover, a preliminary analysis of depth of capture was performed as a first step to study this species vertical distribution.