In the context of NEMA, and the south coast of mainland Portugal, subtropical species (or neonative) are those that are traditionally more common in tropical and subtropical areas, south of the Algarve. Because the Algarve is in a border area between the temperate climate and the subtropical area, it already has some species more characteristic of these waters. With the increase in the average temperatures of the oceans, these species tend to expand their distribution to the North, accompanying this increase in temperatures, reason why they tend to be more frequent in the Portuguese continental coast.

By definition, this type of species should not be called invasive, unless clear negative impacts on fauna or economy are documented.

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Species: Hermodice carunculata (fire worm)

Description: common in the islands of Macaronesia, the first confirmed record in the Algarve dates from 2015. Invertebrate with red to greenish color, belonging to the family Amphinomidae and can reach 35 cm in length.

⚠️ It has white bristles along the sides of the body that causes a strong irritation and burning sensation to touch, hence its common name. Contact with the skin should be avoided.

Records in the Algarve: see here.

Portimão, September 2018. Photo: João Encarnação

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Portimão, October 2017. Photos: João Encarnação

Species: Thalassoma pavo (ornate wrasse)

 

Description: common in the islands of Macaronesia, the first confirmed record in the Algarve dates from 2011. Fish of the Labridae family of small dimensions (maximum 25 cm), easily identifiable by the green/orange color. They have a high sexual dimorphism, with females having vertical blue stripes, the male being more uniform, keeping only a blue band close to the head. It can be confused with the species Coris julis, quite common on our coast, although the colorations are different.

Records in the Algarve: see here.

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Species similar to Thalassoma pavo. Photos: João Encarnação

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Species: Scorpaena maderensis (Madeira scorpion fish)

Description: common in the Macaronesian islands, the first confirmed record in the Algarve dates from 2016. Fish of the Scorpaenidae family that can reach 18 cm in length. Easily confused with other local species such as Scorpaena notata or Scorpaena porcus. However, the white flaps on the lower jaw are the best distinguishing feature.

⚠️ Like other Scorpaenids, some of its spines contain poison so contact should be avoided.

 

Records in the Algarve: see here.

Portimão, October 2016. Photo: João Encarnação

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Species similar to Scorpaena maderensis. Photos: João Encarnação

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Portimão, April 2017. Photo: João Encarnação

Species : Serranus atricauda (roller grouper)

Description: species already present in the Algarve for several years, showing an increase in abundance. Species more characteristic of the Macaronesian islands.

Fish of the Serranidae family that can reach 45 cm in length. Easily confused with other local species, especially the Serranus cabrilla. The existence of two wider bands on the sides is the best diagnostic feature.

Records in the Algarve: see here.

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Species similar to Serranus atricauda. Photos: João Encarnação

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Spain, October 2018. Photo: João Encarnação

Species: Serranus scriba (painted comber)

Description: species present in the Algarve for some years, but more characteristic of southern Spain and the Mediterranean. Fish of the Serranidae family that can reach 35 cm in length.

The existence of a bluish area in the belly is the best diagnostic feature.

 

Records in the Algarve: see here.

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Species similar to Serranus scriba. Photos: João Encarnação

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Madeira, June 2011. Photo: João Encarnação/EMEPC

Species: Sparisoma cretense (parrotfish)

Description: species characteristic of the Macaronesian islands, Mediterranean and West African coast.

Fish of the Scaridae family that can reach 50 cm in length. High sexual dimorphism, with females displaying bright colours, while males have colours between grey and greenish.

 

Records in the Algarve: see here.

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Madeira, June 2011. Photo: João Encarnação/EMEPC

Species: Pomadasys incisus (bastard grunt)

Description: species present in the Algarve for some years, but more characteristic of the islands of Macaronesia (except the Azores) and the Mediterranean. Fish of the Haemulidae family that can reach 25 cm in length.

It can be confused with some sparids existing in the Algarve, but this species of grunt has all fins in shades of yellow.

 

Records in the Algarve: see here.

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Portimão, June 2014. Photo: João Encarnação

Species: Parapristipoma octolineatum (African striped grunt)

Description: species present in the Algarve for some years, but more characteristic of some of the Macaronesian islands, the Mediterranean and West African coast. Fish of the Haemulidae family that can reach 50 cm in length.

As an adult, horizontal stripes are no longer so evident.

 

Records in the Algarve: see here.

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Angola, Lagos, Lagoa. Photos: João Encarnação

Species: Plectorhinchus mediterraneus (rubberlip grunt)

Description: species already present in the Algarve for several years, characteristic of the West African coast and the Mediterranean.

Fish of the Haemulidae family that can reach 60 cm in length. As an adult, the horizontal stripes are no longer visible.

 

Records in the Algarve: see here.

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Species: Umbrina canariensis (Canary drum)

Description: species present in the Algarve for some years, having increased in abundance. Species more characteristic of the Spanish coasts (including the Canary islands), the Mediterranean and the African coast until Angola. Fish of the family Sciaenidae that can reach 80 cm in length.

It may be confused with some sparids existing in the Algarve, but this species of drum has brownish dorsal and caudal fins, and a barbel in the lower jaw.

 

Records in the Algarve: see here.

Portimão, August 2019. Photo: João Encarnação

Species: Sciaena umbra (brown meagre)

Description: most characteristic of the Spanish coasts (including the Canary Islands) and the Mediterranean Sea.

It may be confused with the previous species (Umbrina canariensis), but it can be distinguished by the black anal fin, as well as the darker edge of the lateral and inferior zone of the caudal fin. There is no barbel in the lower jaw.

 

Records in the Algarve: see here.

Ria Formosa, October 2020. Photo: Duarte Bagarrão

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Azores, July 2011. Photo: João Encarnação/EMEPC

Species: Sphoeroides marmoratus (Guineann puffer)

Description: common in Macaronédia islands and West African coast. Fish of the family Tetraodontidae that can reach 20 cm in length.

There are some reports of sightings in the Algarve.

⚠️ Like other members of the Tetraodontidae family, it has toxins in its skin and muscle, so its consumption is highly discouraged.

 

Records in the Algarve: see here.

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Angola, September 2019. Photo: João Encarnação

Species: Canthigaster capistrata (Macaronesian sharpnose-puffer)

Description: endemic to the islands of the Macaronesia, occurs down to the coast of Angola. Fish of the family Tetraodontidae that can reach 10 cm in length.

To date, there are no records in the Algarve.

⚠️ Like other members of the Tetraodontidae family, it has toxins in your skin and muscle, so its consumption is highly discouraged.

 

Records in the Algarve: see here (no observations).

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Portimão, September 2019. Photo: João Encarnação

Species: Chromis chromis (Mediterranean damselfish)

Description: species already present in the Algarve for several years, having increased in abundance. Species characteristic of some islands of Macaronesia, the Mediterranean and West African coast.

Fish of the Pomacentridae family that can reach 20 cm in length.

 

Records in the Algarve: see here.

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Species similar to Chromis chromis. Photos: João Encarnação

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Portimão, September 2019. Photo: João Encarnação/EMEPC

Species: Chromis limbata (Atlantic damselfish)

Description: species characteristic of the islands of Macaronesia and West African coast.

Fish of the Pomacentridae family that can reach 15 cm in length.

To date, there are no records of the Algarve.

 

Records in the Algarve: see here (no observations).

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Species similar to Chromis limbata. Photos: João Encarnação

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Portimão, September 2019. Photo: João Encarnação/EMEPC

Species: Abudefduf luridus (Canary damselfish)

Description: species characteristic of the Macaronesian islands.

Fish of the Pomacentridae family that can reach 15 cm in length.

Although already registered in the Gorringe Bank, there are, to date, no records on the Algarve coast.

 

Records in the Algarve: see here (no observations).

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Species similar to Abudefduf luridus. Photos: João Encarnação

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Cape Verde, September 2008. Photo: João Encarnação

Species: Abudefduf saxatilis (Sergeant-major)

Description: very cosmopolitan species. In the Atlantic it is more characteristic of the West coast, but also occurring in the Cape Verde area. Fish of the Pomacentridae family that can reach 23 cm in length.

It was recently identified in Madeira (2006) and the Mediterranean (2012). To date, there are no records on the Algarve coast.

 

Records in the Algarve: see here (no observations).

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Species: family Diadematidae (long-spined sea urchin)

Description: Within this family of sea urchins, there are several species of interest, which may be registered in  mainland Portugal. In Macaronesia and the Mediterranean Sea there are some species of the genus Diadema and of the genus Centrostephanus.

Easily distinguishable from other species of sea urchins by their long spines.

 

Records in the Algarve: see here (no observations).

Madeira, June 2011. Photo: João Encarnação/EMEPC

Species: Cronius ruber (Blackpoint sculling crab; red swimming crab)

Description: species that can be found both in the West, and East Atlantic from Angola to Senegal. It was recently identified in the Canary Islands (2016) and Madeira Island (2018). Similar to the velvet swimming crab (Necora puber), but it has relatively larger forcepts and large spines in their inside zone.

Records in the Algarve: see here (no observations).

Madeira Island, September 2021. Photos: Roger Rodrigues.

......more species soon......