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Two Seas for One Great Diversity: Checklist of the Marine Heterobranchia (Mollusca; Gastropoda) from the Salento Peninsula (South-East Italy)

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies—DiSTeBA, University of Salento, I-73100 Lecce, Italy
Salento Sommerso Association, I-73100 Lecce, Italy
Museum of Natural History of Salento, I-73021 Calimera-Lecce, Italy
Cooperativa Hydra, I-73100 Lecce, Italy
Department of Science, University of Roma Tre, I-00146 Rome, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 171;
Received: 18 March 2020 / Revised: 23 April 2020 / Accepted: 24 April 2020 / Published: 26 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Marine Diversity)
The Salento peninsula is a portion of the Italian mainland separating two distinct Mediterranean basins, the Ionian and the Adriatic seas. Several authors have studied the marine Heterobranchia (Mollusca, Gastropoda) fauna composition living in the Ionian Sea, but to date further knowledge regarding this interesting group of mollusks is still needed. Recent studies have corroborated the peculiarity of the Mediterranean Sea showing high levels of endemism and cryptic diversity. On the other hand, marine sea slugs have been revealed to be important indicators of the marine ecosystem’s health, due to their species-specific diet that consist of a vast variety of sessile and benthic invertebrates. A baseline study of the marine Heterobranchia diversity is therefore a necessary step to reveal the hidden diversity and to monitor the possible presence of alien species. The present study shows results from approximately 600 scientific dives carried out during a nine-year period in all of the main submarine habitats of the studied area, while accounting for the marine Heterobranchia from both the Ionian and Adriatic Seas. With this contribution, the list of marine Heterobranchia inhabiting the Salento Peninsula rises to 160. Furthermore, it also reports, for the first time, the presence of one alien species and three new records for Italian waters. Ecological notes and geographical distribution for each added species are provided together with animal iconography, consisting mainly of in situ photographs, for species identification. View Full-Text
Keywords: diversity; sea slugs; nudibranchs; Mediterranean Sea; monitoring diversity; sea slugs; nudibranchs; Mediterranean Sea; monitoring
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Furfaro, G.; Vitale, F.; Licchelli, C.; Mariottini, P. Two Seas for One Great Diversity: Checklist of the Marine Heterobranchia (Mollusca; Gastropoda) from the Salento Peninsula (South-East Italy). Diversity 2020, 12, 171.

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