I met this Calyx nicaeensis, Goblet Sponge, during a dive in the reefs of the Secche di Vada near Livorno. The name owes it to its characteristic goblet shape. According to some experts, this sponge has become extremely rare in the Mediterranean because it requires very stable water temperature and biological conditions: small variations are enough to decree its disappearance. We all know by now that climate change has a heavy impact on biological life, but few seem to realize that it also affects the deep sea.
Even we at intotheblue.it could not miss the infamous and by now famous this summer, Blue Crab - Callinectes sapidus - also known as Blue King Crab. We filmed it after several reports, on the stretch of coast between Vada and Rosignano Solvay, luring it with a bait to film it with the camera. This alien species has colonized the Mediterranean for at least fifty years but has spread by invading the coasts in recent years perhaps precisely because of the now inevitable warming of the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. ...
Sea pens are colonial marine cnidarians belonging to the order Pennatulacea. There are 14 families within the order and 35 extant genera; it is estimated that of 450 described species, around 200 are valid. Sea pens have a cosmopolitan distribution, being found in tropical and temperate waters worldwide, as well as from the intertidal to depths of more than 6100 m.Sea pens are grouped with the octocorals, together with sea whips (gorgonians).
Under the surface of the sea an exuberant life is "hidden" that develops in three dimensions, full of countless beings so different from each other where the competition for life sometimes becomes dramatic but always finds a delicate balance of coexistence. The interest in observation leads us to appreciate a wonderful aquatic life, both animal and plant, present at all depths.
Reteporella grimaldii is a species of bryozoans in the family Reteporidae. It is composed of a colony of small animals that form a limestone substrate which takes the form of a refined lace. Hence the name of sea lace. The animals that compose it live on organic particles, plankton, filtering the water carried by the current. The Reteporella can take on different colors based on the species and the environmental conditions in which it lives. We have little information on the environment in which it lives but we can say with certainty, based on our direct experience, that it is possible to meet it from 10 meters up to 100 meters deep. The video we show you was shot in the Mediterranea Sea at 56 meters deep.
The Savalia savaglia, commonly known as gold coral, is a species colonial in the family Parazoanthidae. This organism is commonly called "false black coral". It owes its name to its ability to produce a dark-colored horny skeleton, usually blackish. The colonies are generally settled on pre-existing gorgonians skeletons and can grow with ramifications that far exceed one meter in length. The polyps of this coral have six tentacles which is why the species is part of Hexacorallia group. They are bright yellow or whitish, and very large and showy (2-3 cm high), similar to those of Parazoanthus axinellae. Sprout very well from the tissue that lines the skeleton (coenenchyme) and have available alternates, showing smooth tentacles. The polyps do not fall as those of other species but can retract and close in on themselves.
During a scuba dive in a beautiful Mediterranean coral reef of Savalia savaglia and Paramuricea clavata, at a depth between 72 and 76 meters, I met this unknown marine organism for the first time. Curiosity prompted me to carry out a series of searches to understand precisely what I was dealing with. Research has not yielded a satisfactory answer. The questions I asked myself were many. Based on my experience of many years of scuba diving it could be an animal belonging to the phylum Prorifera.
Myriapora truncata, also known by its common name false coral is a species from the genus Myriapora. The species was originally described by Peter Simon Pallas in 1766. Myriapora truncata is a common species on rocky environments from the water surface to a depth of 60 meter, where it forms calcareous colonies. It has a bright red colour which earned it its common name of "False coral". Studies suggest that M. truncata seem well able to withstand the levels of ocean acidification predicted in the next 200 years. Myriapora truncata is the source of 4 polyketide-derived metabolites.
Silvio wreck is now reduced to very bad conditions due to the time that has passed but, above all, due to the fishing boats that cause continuous hooks with their trawl nets and then, in an attempt to recover them, cause further damage to the structure of the tug; the wreck is in fact almost completely surrounded by fishing nets. As you can see from the video, the seabed on which it is located is a muddy seabed and a few movements by the diver are enough to lift the mud and make visibility poor; therefore considerable experience is required to avoid accidents and dive in complete safety.
Bolinus brandaris (originally called Murex brandaris by Linnaeus and also Haustellum brandaris), and commonly known as the purple dye murex or the spiny dye-murex, is a species of medium-sized predatory sea snail, an edible marine gastropod mollusk in the Muricidae family, the murex snails or the rock snails. This species is known in the fossil record from the Pilocene (age range: from 3.6 to 2.588 million years ago). Fossil shells of this species have been found in Cyprus, Spain and Italy. It was used by the Phoenicians in ancient times to extract imperial Tyrian purple dye.
Boops boops commonly called the bogue, is a species of seabream native to the eastern Atlantic. Its common name in most languages refers to its large ("bug") eyes. A demeral and semi-pelagic, it can generally be found at a depth of 100 m, and infrequently down to 350 m. The Bogue reaches a maximum length of 30 cm. and a weight that can reach half a kilogram. Its color ranges from silvery green on the back to white on the belly. The fins have the same color as the back except the ventral ones which are white. On the side it has a dark lateral line under which we find four or five lateral lines of a beautiful golden color.
The Martasteria or Spiny Starfish, Marthasterias glacialis, is an echinoderm of the Asteriidae family common in the Mediterranean Sea. Also called a Tank star, due to the characteristic plates bristling with thorns that distinguish it from other starfish, it has a regular shape with five arms. The body is characterized by spines of variable color: white, gray, brown, red, blue. It appears to be the largest species in the Mediterranean, capable of reaching even 85 centimeters in diameter.
Flathead grey mullets it is a fish able to withstand wide variations in salinity, in fact we find it regularly in marine waters, fresh or brackish waters. Extremely adaptable to all environments; we often find it at the mouths of rivers, in lagoon areas where sea water mixes with fresh water from the hinterland and inside bays and harbors. We met him among the boats of the small port of Castiglioncello: a well-known tourist and seaside resort near Livorno. Usually shy and suspicious, because often the object of predatory fish hunting, in this case he let himself be approached by the diver's camera who took the opportunity to make a close encounter.
The European squid or common squid (Loligo vulgaris) is a large squid belonging to the family Loliginidae. It occurs abundantly in coastal waters from the North Sea to at least the west coast of Africa. This species lives from sea level to depths of 500 m. Its mantle is up to 40 cm long. The species is extensively exploited by commercial fisheries.
The striped red mullet or surmullet (Mullus surmuletus) is a species of goatfish found in the Mediterranean Sea, eastern North Atlantic Ocean, and the Black Sea. They can be found in water as shallow as 5 metres or as deep as 409 metres depending upon the portion of their range that they are in. This species can reach a length of 40 centimetres. Toxic when not cooked. Though most are only around 25 centimetres. The greatest recorded weight for this species is 1 kilogram. This is a commercially important species and is also sought after as a game fish.
Tedania anhelans is a sea sponge that has an arborescent shape with colors that vary from transparent to light gray or dark gray depending on the conditions and depths of the environment in which it lives and personally I also add based on age: more pale in the juvenile phase or darker in the mature phase. It is present throughout the Mediterranean Sea at a depth ranging from 10 to over 100 meters on hard substrates, in rocky walls but also, as in our case, on Gorgonians and fishing nets abandoned for several years. In fact, the Tedania sponge reproduces very easily.
During a scuba dive I encountered this Catshark egg attached to an abandoned anchor rope on the seabed. The Catshark is a predominantly nocturnal fish that hides in the burrows and ravines of submerged cliffs during the day. Typically this small shark fixes its eggs to the various Gorgonians to make the most of the sea currents. In this case, as there were no Gorgonians in the seabed, he used the rope abandoned on the bottom by a boat.
Calafuria coral reef near Livorno is one of the most beautiful coastal areas in Tuscany in the stretch from Quercianella to Livorno. Overlooking the sea, this splendid cliff continues its profile even under the sea surface until it reaches a depth of 36 meters, a short distance from the shore, and then rests on a seabed of sandy debris mixed with mud.
The bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix) is the only extant species of the family Pomatomidae. It is a marine pelagic fish found around the world in temperate and subtropical waters, except for the northern Pacific Ocean. Bluefish are known as tailor in Australia and New Zeeland elf and shad in South Africa. It is a popular gamefish and food fish.
The Basket Star is characterized by five tentacles, each branched several times, with which it clings to the branches of the soft corals and which are opened at night to feed on. The body has a diameter that can reach 8 centimeters, with the complete opening of the tentacles the maximum width of the entire animal can reach 80 centimeters. It feeds passively with the open tentacles, in particular of planktonic microparticles.
The marine environment is affected by all kinds of pollution that has always been caused by human activities but from the industrial era to the present day it has developed exponentially to the point that we may consider not to return. A human activity in direct contact with the sea is certainly represented by professional fishing. Fishing is generally practiced by trawl nets or fishing net. The fishing net net is certainly the most compatible because it is practiced selectively and more respectful to the environment.
The Elephant Ear Sponge, (Spongia agaricina, Spongia lamella), resembles a relatively flat bowl. In the lower part it narrows, to form the point of attachment to the rock. The measure ranges from 14 to 80 cm in diameter with a thickness ranging from 1 to 4 cm approximately. It is an endemic species of the Mediterranean Sea that generally lives at depths between 15 and 50 meters, but we can find it up to 150 meters deep.
Sabella pavonina, commonly known as the peacock worm, is a marine polychaete worm belonging to the family Sabellidae. They can be found along the coasts of Western Europe and the Mediterranean. It is found in shallow, tidal waters with a bed of mud, sand or gravel. It is sometimes found on rocks or shipwrecks.
The Savalia savaglia, commonly known as gold coral, is a species colonial in the family Parazoanthidae. This organism is commonly called "false black coral". It owes its name to its ability to produce a dark-colored horny skeleton, usually blackish. The colonies are generally settled on pre-existing gorgonians skeletons and can grow with ramifications that far exceed one meter in length.
The Pteria hirundo is a species of bivalve belonging to the family Pteriidae. The species is found in Europe, Africa and the Americas. The two valves are unequal and the lower one, to which the animal is anchored, is larger and hollow than the upper one. The mollusk has a rounded body, with the margins of the two edges of the mantle fringed.
Peltodoris atromaculata, more commonly known as the dotted sea slug or sea cow, is a species of sea slug, a dorid nudibranch, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Discodorididae. It dwells in salt water up to the depth of 40m. It is exclusively found in precorralligene and coralligene communities and is very common in such communities.
The red-tuft Protula lives throughout the Mediterranean Sea in small tubes at depths that can vary from 10 meters to over 100 meters.It is a very common annelid throughout the Mediterranean and ...
Flabellia petiolata is a green algae in the Udoteaceae family. Flabellia petiolata is native to the Mediterranean Sea and also occurs in the Canary Islands and Cape Verde. Lives at a depth between 10 and 60 meters; the video that I present to you was made at a depth of over 50 meters and highlights a beautiful carpet of this important alga. It grows in coralligenous substrates of the sublittoral often in association with other algae.
The Axinella polypoides, is a species of sea sponge belonging to the Demospongiae class, family Axinellidae and at phylum Porifera. it's present throughout the Mediterranean Sea. It comes in the form of a sapling and lives at a depth ranging from 20 meters to over 300 meters.
The Dorado or Mahi-mahi can live for up to five years, although they seldom exceed four. Females are usually smaller than males. Catches typically are 7 to 13 kg and a meter in length. They rarely exceed 15 kg, and mahi-mahi over 18 kg are exceptional. Mahi-mahi are among the fastest-growing of fish.
Deadly Ambushes at Sea! It is the struggle for life! As we know, the big fish eats small fish, probably the weakest one, also carrying out a natural selection and a biological balance that has always occurred in a bloody way in nature. Unless human intervention, as more and more often happens in recent years, does not interrupt the biological cycle and thus create imbalances in nature which, as we know, eventually backfire the human.
Mediterranean sea Anemone, (Anemonia sulcata), commonly known as Venus hair, is a species of sea anemone in the Actiniidae family. It has a cylindrical body, varying in color from yellow-brown to green, from which a crown of long, slightly retractable tentacles with violet-colored ends depart.
This video was made on 11 June 2021 in the reefs of Lighthouse Vada near Livorno, over 6 miles from the coast of Castiglioncello at a depth of over 42 meters. ...
Sponges, contrary to what one might think at first sight, are very simple multicellular animal organisms very similar in shape and appearance to plant organisms. ...
We met the Lobsters in a submerged reef over 75 meters deep, the muddy bottom moved by the current made the water not very transparent; as you can see, however, the cliff is vital and exuberant. ...
We have witnessed a wonderful "miracle" of nature that we document with this underwater video: the reproduction of Paramuricea clavata. A large colony of Gorgonians have opened their polyps ...