First sighting of Gray Whale Eschrichtius robustus (Lilljeborg, 1861) (Cetartiodactyla: Eschrichtiidae) in Italian waters and review of Mediterranean Sea records
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Independent Researcher, 44022 Comacchio (Ferrara)
Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e dell’Ambiente, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Via Brecce Bianche, 60131 Ancona
Scuola Superiore di Tecnologia per il Mare – ITS “G. Caboto”, Via Annunziata, 58 - 04024 Gaeta (Latina)
Dipartimento di Biologia, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II
Online publication date: 2023-11-27
Publication date: 2023-11-27
Corresponding author
Nicola Maio   

Dipartimento di Biologia, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II
Hystrix It. J. Mamm. 2023;34(2):147-150
Here, we report the sighting, which occurred in 2021, of a juvenile Gray Whale (Eschrichtius robustus) in the Tyrrhenian Sea along the coast of Lazio and Campania regions (Central-Southern Italy). It is the first record of this species in Italian waters and the second one in the Mediterranean Sea after the sighting occurred in 2010 off the Israeli coast. Furthermore, we investigate and discuss the ancient and modern data from the Mediterranean Sea and the possible reasons accounting for the presence of this specimen in an area so far from its usual geographical range.
We are grateful to the personnel of the Coast Guard of Ponza, Fiumicino, and Gaeta (for Lazio Region) and the Coast Guard of Sorrento (for Campania Region) for sharing photos/videos of the whale and information about the first sightings. We also thank Michel Raynal (Paris), Sandro Mazzariol (CERT of Padua), Sabina Airoldi, and Maddalena Jahoda (Tethys Institute of Milan) for updates about Gray Whale travel, and Salvatore Viglietti (ARPA Campania) for making the map. Finally, we thank the reviewers for their suggestions, and we are grateful to the teacher, Maria Cristina Caracciolo, for the English language revision. This work is dedicated to the memory of Professor Gianni Pavan (University of Pavia, Italy).
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