An eastern Atlantic fish species usually found along the west African coast has been discovered in the Mediterranean. 

The Niger Hind (Cephalopholis nigri) is the latest alien species to be discovered in local waters by the Conservation Biology Group at the University of Malta. 

Growing to around 30cm in length, the fish generally inhabits areas containing mud, sand, and rubble in coastal waters and feeds at depths of 45 to 90 metres.

News of the Niger Hind's discovery in Mediterranean waters has been published in peer-reviewed journal Marine Biodiversity Records, in a paper jointly authored by Adriana Vella, who leads the Conservation Biology Group, Noel Vella and Sandra Agius Darmanin. 

The Armed Forces of Malta, Transport Malta, local fishermen, scuba divers and the NGO BICREF were all involved in the conservation-oriented effort that led to the Niger Hind's discovery. 

Biologists are concerned that the increasing number of new alien species in Mediterranean waters may rapidly change local marine communities. 

Just this summer, the research team led by Dr Vella discovered two new alien species in the Mediterranean - the lowfin chub and the lionfish.

Seafarers who notice any unusual species are encouraged to report their discoveries to Dr Vella by emailing adriana.vella@um.edu.mt

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