Callionymus belenus Risso, 1826
Synonyms: Callionymus risso Le Sueur
Common names: Engl: Dragonet; Russ: Malaya morskaya mysh; Turk: Uzgun baligi; Ukr: Mors'ka mysha mala, Piskarka sira
Taxonomic descriptions: One of three species of the family inhabiting the Black Sea. Spinous dorsal fin with three rays. Rostrum length is less than the eye diameter and forming not more than 30% of the headís length.
††† World level:
††† Black Sea Regional level: EN
††† Subregion level: EN (Ukrainian sector)
Distribution: Mainly sandy bottom shallow water coastal areas of the Black Sea, including low salinity areas, Mediterranean Sea.
Habitats type, Critical habitats, Limiting factors: Sandy and muddy grounds from 1 to 10, sometimes 18 m depth. Limiting factors are the bottom hypoxia for adult fishes, surface water pollution and disappearance of Cystoseira belts for neustonic larvae.
Biology: A small bottom fish up to 7-8 cm length, feeding on meiobenthos and laying pelagic eggs. Neustonic larvae 4-7 mm long, are covered with a dense network of dark brown melanophores, making them appear like floating fragments of brown alga Cystoseira barbata to which the predators are indifferent.
Population trends: Sharp decline in population numbers since the late 1970s. The reduction of 50-70% over the last 10 years is based on direct observations.
Threats: Pollution of the surface microlayer of water, bottom hypoxia and disappearance of Cystoseira barbata belts along the north-western coast of the Black Sea.
Conservation measures taken: It has been included in the Red Data Book of Ukraine (1994), as a species in the Data Deficient (DD) category.
Conservation measures proposed: Enter in the Black Sea Red Data Book. Reduction of Black Sea eutrophication.
Compiled by: Yu.Zaitsev