New Record of Dendronephthya sp. (Family: Nephtheidae) from Mediterranean Israel: Evidence for Tropicalization?

Hagai Nativ, Ori Galili, Ricardo Almuly, Shai Einbinder, Dan Tchernov, Tali Mass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bio-invasions have the potential to provoke cascade effects that can disrupt natural ecosystems and cause ecological regime shifts. The Mediterranean Sea is particularly prone to bio-invasions as the changing water conditions, evoked by climate change, are creating advantageous conditions for Lessepsian migrants from the Red Sea. Recently, in May 2023, a new alien species was documented in the Mediterranean Sea—a soft coral of the genus Dendronephthya. This discovery was made by divers conducting ‘Long-Term Ecological Research’ surveys, along the coast of Israel, at a depth of 42 m. Genetic and morphological testing suggest that the species identity may be Dendronepthya hemprichi, an Indo-Pacific coral, common in the Red Sea. According to life history traits of this species, such as accelerated attachment to available surfaces and fast growth, we expect it to rapidly expand its distribution and abundance across the Mediterranean Sea.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1220
Issue number9
StatePublished - 8 Sep 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • Lessepsian migration
  • Mediterranean Sea
  • Mesophotic reef
  • alien species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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