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New Evidence of Marine Fauna Tropicalization off the Southwestern Iberian Peninsula (Southwest Europe)

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Climate change and the overall increase of seawater temperature are causing a poleward shift in species distribution, which includes a phenomenon described as the tropicalization of temperate regions. This work aims to report the first records of four species off the southwestern Iberian Peninsula, namely, the oceanic puffer Lagocephalus lagocephalus (Linnaeus, 1758), the Madeira rockfish Scorpaena maderensis Valenciennes, 1833, the ornate wrasse Thalassoma pavo (Linnaeus, 1758), and the bearded fireworm Hermodice carunculata (Pallas, 1766). These last three species, along with other occurrences of aquatic fauna and flora along the Portuguese coast, reveal an ongoing process of poleward expansion of several species, which urgently necessitates a comprehensive survey along the entire Iberian Peninsula. The putative origins of these subtropical and tropical species off continental Portugal are discussed, as well as the potential public health problems that two of the four reported species may cause.

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