Pontella mediterranea (Claus, 1863)

Pontella mediterranea imageSynonyms: None.

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.

Pontella mediterranea arealIUCN Status:
    World level:
    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.


  1. Newell, G.E. and Newell, R.C., 1966. Marine Plankton, a practical guide. London, Hutchinson Educational, pp. 221, (in English).
  2. Dolgopol’skaya, M.A., 1969. Otryad calanoida G.O. Sars (Order Calanoida G.O. Sars), In: Opredelitel’ fauny Chernogo I Azovskogo morey (A key to Black Sea and Sea of Azov fauna), Kiev, Naukova dumka, II, p. 34-48, (in Russian).
  3. Zaitsev, Yu.P., 1971. Marine Neustonology. Jerusalem: Israel Program for Scientific Translations, pp. 207, (in English).
  4. Zaitsev, Yu. and Mamaev, V., 1997. Marine Biological Diversity in the Black Sea. A Study of Change and Decline. New York: United Nations Publications, pp. XV, 208, (in English).

Compiled by: Yu.Zaitsev.