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African Journal of Marine Science

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In situ video observations of benthic megafauna and fishes from the deep eastern Mediterranean Sea off Egypt

AR Gates, DOB Jones, JE Cartes

Abstract


Remotely operated vehicle (ROV) video observations were used to document benthic fauna at a hydrocarbon drilling location, at 2 720 m depth, in the poorly studied deep water off northern Egypt. The decapod Chaceon mediterraneus was the most common organism at the site and the only benthic megafaunal invertebrate observed. Three species of fish, Coryphaenoides mediterraneus, Cataetyx laticeps and Bathypterois mediterraneus, were also encountered. These findings confirmed these three species as the deepest-distributed benthic fish in the eastern Mediterranean, and confirmed that the deep Mediterranean, in particular the eastern basin, is one of the world’s poorest deep-sea ecosystems in terms of diversity. The behaviour exhibited by the species observed was consistent with their natatory capacity, deduced from their feeding intensity (gut fullness) and diet (mainly suprabenthic prey were consumed), and conservative life strategies adapted to an extremely low energy environment.

Keywords: Bathypterois mediterraneus, Cataetyx laticeps, Chaceon mediterraneus, Coryphaenoides mediterraneus, deep sea, Levantine Sea, remotely operated vehicle, species diversity

African Journal of Marine Science 2012, 34(2): 215–222



http://dx.doi.org/10.2989/1814232X.2012.675121
AJOL African Journals Online