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Mare nostrum

The visit of Acquario di Livorno - dedicated to Diacinto Cestoni - starts with the 12 “Pearls of the Mediterranean” tanks that show some of the most beautiful features of our sea.

A short voyage through the biodiversity of the Mediterranean Sea, to discover its colours and myriad forms. Examples of marine creatures that can be admired in this exhibit include the seahorse, shamefaced crab, octopus and trumpetfish.

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Pearls of Mediterranean Sea


Octopuses can reach a weight of 10 kg, and their tentacles have a double row of suckers. At the end of winter, sexually mature specimens move up to shallower water to reproduce. Females lay between 150,000 and 400,000 eggs in long strands hanging from the top of their dens, and they watch over them for two months. During this time the females do not feed, and they often die soon after the eggs hatch.

Shamefaced Crab

The name of these crabs comes from their habit of retracting their claws very close to the shell covering their body when they feel threatened. They hide on the seabed and feed prevalently on molluscs. They reproduce between June and September, and adults have been observed to protect their young beneath their claws.

Dusky Grouper

This fish can grow to lengths of over one metre. It reproduces in summer, when sexually mature adults gather closely together at depths between 15 and 30 metres. When growing, the Dusky Grouper changes sex from female to male after 9–12 years. A voracious predator, it feeds mainly on molluscs and crustaceans.

European Fan Worm

This is the most beautiful sedentary worm of the Mediterranean
. With even the slightest change of light intensity, it retracts its corona of tentacles. It feeds by filtering plankton, and reproduces from June to October.

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