Marine Life in The Mediterranean
The Mediterranean Sea is home to a stunning variety of marine life. Though it covers less than 1% of the ocean surface, the sea holds 1 in 10 known marine species, of which 28% are unique to the region. Unfortunately, over the past years, wildlife species in the Mediterranean have faced various threats, including whales being struck by ships, turtles ingesting plastic and the over-fishing of sharks. MaltaPost proudly introduces a set of five stamps that portray marine species found in the Mediterranean waters. The objective is to encourage the preservation of our natural environment and the protection of the unique marine fauna found in the area. Local artist Andrew Micallef, renowned for his meticulous depictions of Maltese flora and fauna, created all five stamp artworks.
Porbeagle Shark - Lamna nasus This shark is a fast swimmer, found in open waters at depths of 50 to 500 metres. It feeds on fish, squid and marine mammals and is critically endangered due to its slow growth, late maturity and low reproductive rate. The Porbeagle is a legally protected species in Malta.
Spinetail Devil Ray - Mobula mobular Has a diamond-shaped body and can reach a width of up to 5 metres. It subsists on a diet of planktonic animals, such as small crustaceans and fish larvae. The species is legal protected in Malta.
Sperm Whale - Physeter macrocephalus The largest toothed whale that grows to a length of up to 18 metres, weighing up to 60 tonnes. There is a small resident population in the Mediterranean but sightings of this mammal are quite rare. Sperm whales live in social groups called pods and feed mainly on squid. The species is protected by both national and international legislation
Atlantic Bluefin Tuna - Thunnus thynnus A highly migratory species found in the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean. This is a large and powerful fish that can reach lengths of up to 3 metres and weigh over 900 kilograms. Bluefin Tuna are voracious predatory fish that feed on smaller fish, squid and crustaceans. This species is of great economic importance with a fishery that is highly regulated to prevent over-fishing.
Swordfish - Xiphias gladius This fish is characterised by a long, flat bill that resembles a sword, used to slash prey. It can reach lengths of up to 4.5 metres and a weight of over 600 kilograms. It feeds on a variety of fish species and squid. Mediterranean swordfish fishery is regulated both nationally and internationally.
Scientific consultation provided by Professor Patrick J Schembri from the Department of Biology at the University of Malta