Update on the Cetacean Fauna of the Mediterranean Levantine Basin

Dani Kerem, N. Hadar, O. Goffman, A. Scheinin, R. Kent, O. Boisseau, Uri Schattner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Levantine Basin (LB) is still considered a void as regards its cetacean fauna: species population abundance and distribution patterns are unknown, and even the list of species and their regional status have so far not been finalized. In an effort to fill the knowledge gap, we present original data collected in the LB over the years 1993-2009. The data relies on strandings, bycatch victims and on incidental and dedicated-survey sightings. We supplement these by reviewing available information on cetacean occurrence in the LB, prior to and including the above period. We believe that the following list and suggested status is a comprehensive updated regional inventory: Species with a ‘regular’ status include the common bottlenose dolphin, striped dolphin, common dolphin, Risso's dolphin and rough-toothed dolphin, as well as Cuvier's beaked whale; ‘visitors’ include false killer whale, sperm whale, minke whale and fin whale; Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin, humpback whale and killer whale are designated ‘vagrants’. The only common Mediterranean species notably absent is the long-finned pilot whale. Indeed, despite its profound oligotrophicity, the diversity of cetacean species in the LB equals that in the western basins, and due to the relatively lower anthropogenic impact that it sustains, it should receive its share of resources and efforts towards conserving this diversity.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalThe Open Marine Biology Journal
StatePublished - 2012


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