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Fan mussel (Pinna nobilis)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 212527457

Assisted recruitment of the critically endangered fan mussel Pinna nobilis in Cyprus (eastern Mediterranean)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 212527457) - Fan mussel - Awarded $11,000 on November 05, 2021

Pinna nobilis is an endemic species and the largest bivalve of the Mediterranean Sea.

Due to an on-going mass mortality event (MME) affecting P. nobilis populations across the Mediterranean Sea caused by a pathogen infection, it has been listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN’s Red List in 2019.

P. nobilis is a well-studied organism, however the majority of the information come from the central and western Mediterranean. Accurate and relevant data concerning the current status, distribution and density of P. nobilis in Cyprus are not available or is in the process to be generated.

Historically, P. nobilis was present in almost all the Levantine Basin and until at least early 2018, Cyprus had large P. nobilis populations [1]. Between 2016 and 2017 only few individuals (<3-5%) of various populations around the island were affected by the mass mortality event [2]. However, in late 2018 and 2019, selected areas that were revisited reported almost 100% mortality at least until 40 m depth at all sites (C. Jiménez and L. Hadjioannou, unpubl. data).

The possible recovery of impacted populations will rely on the existence of unimpacted populations, resistant individuals and recruitment. The overall objectives of the project are: 


  • to collect and gather information on the current status of P. nobilis in Cyprus
  • to enhance the larval recruitment of P. nobilis, through installation of larval collectors, and support eventual recoveries of the species
  • to produce solid scientific results with implications towards the conservation of P. nobilis in Cyprus and elsewhere in the Mediterranean Sea
  • to raise public awareness.



Literature Cited


[1] Katsanevakis S et al. 2021. The Fan Mussel Pinna nobilis on the Brink of Extinction in the Mediterranean. Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences, doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-821139-7.00070-2

[2] Kersting D et al. 2019. Pinna nobilis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T160075998A160081499.



Project 212527457 location - Cyprus, Europe