Microlipophrys adriaticus

Microlipophrys adriaticus

The Adriatic blenny (Microlipophrys adriaticus Steindachner & Kolombatovic, 1883) is a small sea fish belonging to the Blenniidae family.

Systematics –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Eukaryota Domain,
Kingdom Animalia,
Subarign Eumetazoa Bilateria,
Superphylum Deuterostomia,
Phylum Chordata,
Subphylum Vertebrata,
Infraphylum Gnathostomata,
Superclass Osteichthyes,
Actinopterygii class,
Perciformes order,
Suborder Blennioidei,
Blenniidae family,
Genus Microlipophrys,
M. adriaticus species.
The terms are synonymous:
– Blennius adriaticus Steindachner & Kolombatovic, 1883;
– Lipophrys adriaticus Steindachner & Kolombatovic, 1883.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
The Microlipophrys adriaticus is a small fish endemic to the Adriatic Sea, where it is common, and widespread in the Mediterranean Sea and the Aegean Sea and also present in the Sea of ​​Marmara and the Black Sea.
Its marine habitat is in very shallow waters on bright rocky bottoms up to a maximum depth of about 2 meters. Being a stenoaline species, it never goes into brackish waters.

Description –
The Adriatic blenny is a small fish with a maximum size of around 4 – 5 cm.
It has an elongated body, devoid of scales, with a barely visible lateral line.
The upper part of the body is olive-green or yellowish or gray in color and is sprinkled with brown dots; there are six brown-red vertical bands, of which the last extends on the base of the caudal, which stop just below the lateral line. The latter is formed by white-silvery points. The lower half of the body is dirty yellowish.
On the flanks there are two rows of dark spots (often tending to meet in 6-7 vertical bands) which are surrounded at the edges by silvery dots. The belly is silvery. The fins have a gray-purple color; the anal is bordered by a silver-white line, sometimes preceded by a thinner gray-violet line.
The head which is darker above, is light below and has two dark stripes and has a front profile straight up and almost vertical up to the mouth. The cheeks are slightly swollen and has no supra-orbital tentacle and nostrils with short and thin dermal appendages.
The eye, relatively large, is placed at the top just protruding on the back of the head.
The mouth is small, with thin lips, and is cut obliquely upwards. The teeth are close together and conical in shape.
The fins are all transparent.
The dorsal has the front lower than the back and is distinguished by a mid-length incision. The first 2 rays of the anal are short. The caudal has a rounded posterior margin. The pectorals are wide and reach up to the anal opening; the ventral ones, located in the jugular position, are slightly shorter than the head.

Biology –
Microlipophrys adriaticus is a species that probably reproduces in spring. It is oviparous, with external fertilization, with adhesive eggs laid in a nest. The nest is formed by a hole in the rock or in the sediment, or in a bivalve mollusk valve. The larvae are pelagic and are found in coastal shallow waters.

Ecological Role –
The Microlipophrys adriaticus is an endemic species of the Adriatic Sea but present, as mentioned, in other seas that lives in a few centimeters of water on boulders without vegetation and covered by barnacles.
It feeds on Crustaceans Barnacles of the genera Balanus and Chtamalus, but also feeds on algae and detritus.
Furthermore, this fish is limited to frequenting marine waters as it does not tolerate changes in salinity.
From the point of view of its status it is a species threatened by pollution as it is found in coastal areas and shallow rocky areas. However, the decline is unlikely to be rapid enough to fall into a threat category. Therefore the species is rated at Least Concern (LC).

Guido Bissanti

Sources
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Louisy P., 2016. Guide to the identification of marine fish of Europe and the Mediterranean. Il Castello Editore, Milan.
– Nikiforos G., 2008. Mediterranean fauna. Giunti Editore, Florence.
Photo source:
https://www.gbif.org/occurrence/3456829386
https://www.colapisci.it/pescitalia/pisces/Blenniiformes/Blennidi/BavosaAdriatica.htm




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