Pontella mediterranea (Claus, 1863)
Common names: None.
Order (Scientific): CALANOIDA.
Family (Scientific): PONTELLIDAE.
Taxonomic descriptions: One of three species of the Pontellidae family into the Black Sea. The head is triangular with lateral hooks and one pair of dorsal ocular lenses. This is a large copepod of blue or blue-green colour. The length of the females is 2.9-3.0 mm, of males - 2.75-2.85 mm.
Black Sea Regional level: EN
Subregion level: EN (Ukrainian sector)
Distribution: All the Black Sea, except low salinity areas and the Sea of Azov, Mediterranean Sea.
Habitat type, Critical habitats, Limiting factors: A neustonic species inhabiting the surface microlayer of the water 0-5 cm. Wintering dormant eggs are laid on the bottom. Limiting factors are the pollution of water surface by toxic surfactants and a lack of oxygen on the bottom.
Biology: Well adapted to the extreme surface layer of water, living in coastal and open sea areas, blue coloured, able to aerial jumps carnivore copepod. A thermophilic Mediterranean origin species with mass development in summer months. It is especially abundant in convergence zones.
Population trends: Sharp decline in population numbers since the 1970s. A reduction of 50-60% over the last 10 years, based on direct observations.
Threats: Pollution of the surface microlayer and eutrophication causing hypoxia in the bottom layer of water.
Conservation measures taken: None.
Conservation measures proposed: Entry in the Black Sea Red Data Book. Reduction of Black Sea pollution.
Compiled by: Yu.Zaitsev.