The presence of Tetraodontidae species in the Central Mediterranean: an update from the southern Adriatic Sea.

Lagocephalus sceleratus Sphoeroides pachygaster morphometry meristic counts sexual maturity of the gonads stomach contents


This paper presents the first record of the Lessepsian migrant fish Lagocephalus sceleratus (silver-cheeked toadfish) on the Italian side of the south Adriatic Sea. In addition, four specimens of Sphoeroides pachygaster (blunthead puffer) were analysed. Meristic and morphometric data of the silver-cheeked toadfish and blunthead puffer are in accordance with data from the Mediterranean. The specimen of silver-cheeked toadfish was a female with gonad in resting stage and the specimens of blunthead puffer were adults (male and female) with gonads in maturing, mature/spawner and post-spawning stage. The stomach contents of the specimen of silver-cheeked toadfish were composed by Mollusca Opistobranchia and Crustacea Brachyura. Stomach contents analysis of S. pachygaster confirmed that Mollusca are the preferred prey for this species. However, the presence of Crustacea (shrimps, crabs) and fish in the stomachs indicates that the blunthead puffer has a broad and variable diet in the south Adriatic Sea. The present study suggests the presence of an established population of blunthead puffer on the continental shelf of the southeast Adriatic Sea.