Luiz Saldanha IMAR - Guia Marine Laboratory, University of Lisbon, Estrada do Guincho, 2750 Cascais, Portugal
Manuel Biscoito IMAR - Museu Municipal do Funchal, R. da Mouraria nº 31, 9000 Madeira, Portugal
The Lucky Strike (LS) and Menez Gwen (MG) hydrothermal vent fields are found on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge between 37º17.5'N and 37º50'N and at depths of ca. 1700 m and 800 m respectively. At LS ambient water temperature was around 4°C and hydrothermal fluids up to 330°C and 281°C at MG.
Observations, video records and photographs were made with the submersibles Alvin and Nautile. Material was collected directly with nets using the submersible arms. Baited traps were also used.
The fish fauna surrounding the hydrothermal vent areas has bathyal characteristics but there are differences between the two areas. At LS small sharks, chimaerids, synaphobranchids, notacanthids, macrourids and gadids dominate the fish community. The most common fish is Cataetyx laticeps occurring very often in pairs. Some of these fishes penetrate the vent sites and feed on hydrothermal organisms. Others are only found in their vicinity. At MG some of the species found at LS were not observed but other from the upper-bathyal were recorded.
A probably new species of Gaidropsarus (currently under study) was found on the mussel beds that dominate the invertebrate community. For the moment an endemic hydrothermal fish fauna was not recorded in any of the vent fields.
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