Spatio-temporal variability in the distribution pattern of anglerfish species in the Mediterranean Sea.

Spatio-temporal variability distribution pattern anglerfish species Mediterranean Sea.


The Mediterranean distributions of two species of anglerfish, the blackbellied anglerfish (Lophius budegassa) and the white anglerfish (Lophius piscatorius), were analysed from trawl survey data (MEDITS project – Spain, France, Italy and Greece) from 2006 to 2015 implementing a Delta model approach with residuals autocovariate boosted regression trees. Sea bottom temperature (SBT), sea bottom salinity (SBS), bathymetry, slope of the seabed and distance to the coast were considered possible predictors. The results show that the locations with a higher presence, abundance and biomass of L. budegassa are those with a depth range between 150 to 300 m, with an SBT range between 17.5 and 18.5°C, and SBS of 37-38 PSU. Similarly, L. piscatorius shows a higher probability of presence, abundance and biomass in location with a bathymetry range of 200-400 m, an SBT of 17.5°C to 18.5°C and an SBS of 36.5 to 37.5. Our results identify preference habitats for the anglerfishes in the Mediterranean Sea such as the Aegean Sea, the Gulf of Lions, south and southeast Spain and the northwestern Ionian Sea. In general terms, these findings enhance our understanding of the differences in the spatio-temporal distribution of these two species, providing useful information that can help their fisheries management and conservation.