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French diplomat Ferdinand de Lesseps (1805–1894), who designed the Suez Canal
The narrow-barred Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus commerson) is a Lessepsian invasive species (sense 2) that has migrated from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea through the Suez Canal

From Lesseps, the surname of Ferdinand de Lesseps (1805–1894) +‎ -ian (suffix forming adjectives or nouns meaning ‘belonging to, relating to, or like’).



Lessepsian (not comparable)

  1. (obsolete, rare) Pertaining to the French diplomat Ferdinand de Lesseps, who designed the Suez Canal.
    • 1882 September 30, “The Suez Canal”, in The Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science, and Art, volume LIV, number 1,405, London: Published [by David Jones] at the Office, [], OCLC 1036708132, page 427, column 1:
      The preposterous demands urged in connexion with the bombardment of Alexandria are the youngest, as the Lessepsian conception of the rights of the Canal Company is among the oldest, fruits of the same general ideas.
    • 1883, “England and France in the East”, in The National Review, volume 1, London: Edward Arnold, OCLC 829735238, page 800:
      Did not Lord Palmerston declare that the construction of the canal was an impossibility? What subsequent occurrence can prevail over these two eternal truths? The Lessepsian policy has in fact been throughout a policy of absolute monopoly, which received its first and only defeat from Lord Beaconsfield's purchase of the Khedive's shares in 1875.
    • 1884 March 15, “The Suez Canal”, in The Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science, and Art, volume 57, number 1,481, London: Printed by Spottiswoode & Co. [...]; and published by David Jones, [...], OCLC 1036708132, page 340, column 1:
      But, at the least, these gentlemen must have had two votes between them—that is to say, they could dispose of a fifth of the whole voting power which Great Britain, with its millions of holding, is ever to hope for according as far as the Lessepsian agreement goes.
  2. (marine biology) Of or relating to organisms that migrate from the Red Sea to the eastern Mediterranean Sea by means of the Suez Canal.
    • 1971 June, F[rancis] D[ov] Por, “One Hundred Years of Suez Canal—a Century of Lessepsian Migration: Retrospect and Viewpoints”, in Systematic Zoology, volume 20, number 2, Washington, D.C.: Society of Systematic Zoology, DOI:10.2307/2412054, ISSN 0039-7989, OCLC 1026526178, page 146, column 1; reprinted in Mark V. Lomolino, Dov F. Sax, and James H[emphill] Brown, editors, Foundations of Biogeography: Classic Papers with Commentaries, Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press, 2004, →ISBN, page 434:
      The Polychaeta Cirriformia semicincta, Branchiosyllis uncinigera and Spirobranchus giganteus, considered by [Lucien] Laubier (1966) to be lessepsian immigrants, are more probably circumtropical species, which are warm water relics along the Levant coast, where Laubier found them, and not necessarily immigrants through the Suez Canal.
    • 1986, F[rancis] D[ov] Por, “Crustacean Biogeography of the Late Middle Miocene Middle Eastern Landbridge”, in Robert H. Gore and Kenneth L. Heck, editors, Crustacean Biogeography (Crustacean Issues; 4), Rotterdam; Boston, Mass.: A[ugust] A[imé] Balkema, →ISBN, ISSN 0168-6356, abstract, page 69:
      The Middle East is an area of complex tectonic history through time, and this complexity is reflected in the biogeography of the region. Essentially, six historico-biogeographical 'strata' can be recognized among the crustaceans which inhabit the region. These are: [...] 6) Lessepsian migrants between the Mediterranean and Red Seas after the opening of the Suez Canal.
    • 2004, Lovrenc Lipej; Jakov Dulčić, “The Current Status of Adriatic Fish Biodiversity”, in Huw I. Griffiths, Boris Kryštufek, and Jane M. Reed, editors, Balkan Biodiversity: Pattern and Process in the European Hotspot, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, →ISBN, page 300:
      After the construction of the waterway between the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf of Suez – the Suez Canal – in 1869, hundreds of Erythrean species traversed the channel and settled in the Mediterranean. This process is called Lessepsian migration, after Ferdinand Marie de Lesseps, the French diplomat and engineer who built the canal. Lessepsian migration is considered to be an important factor in the increase of Mediterranean fish diversity.
    • 2007 April, M[ichel] Bariche; M. Sadek; M. S. Al-Zein; M. El-Fadel, “Diversity of Juvenile Fish Assemblages in the Pelagic Waters of Lebanon (Eastern Mediterranean)”, in Hydrobiologia: The International Journal of Aquatic Sciences, volume 580, number 1, The Hague; Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, DOI:10.1007/s10750-006-0461-0, ISSN 0018-8158, OCLC 860497783, page 115; reprinted in G. Relini and J. Ryland, editors, Biodiversity in Enclosed Seas and Artificial Marine Habitats: Proceedings of the 39th European Marine Biology Symposium, Held in Genoa, Italy, 21–24 July 2004 (Developments in Hydrobiology; 193), Dordrecht: Springer, 2007, →ISBN, page 115, column 1:
      However, while many necto-benthic and benthic Lessepsian fish are thriving, the inshore pelagic fish communities do not seem much affected by the dozen Lessepsian species inhabiting this area [...].
    • 2014, “Preface”, in Stefano Goffredo and Zvy Dubinsky, editors, The Mediterranean Sea: Its History and Present Challenges, Dordrecht; Heidelberg: Springer Science+Business Media, DOI:10.1007/978-94-007-6704-1, →ISBN, page v:
      Ongoing changes in biodiversity are presented as driven by the increasing influx of Lessepsian Indo-Pacific invaders, facilitated by the exponential growth of cargo shipping and the "tropicalization" of the Mediterranean.


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