IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

Comprehensive Description

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Comprehensive Description

Unlike the true, or clawed, lobsters, spiny lobsters have long, thick, spiny antennae and lack large pinching claws. The Spotted Spiny Lobster (Panulirus guttatus) occurs from Bermuda to Suriname, with populations in southeastern Florida, in the Bahamas, and throughout the Caribbean Sea. Unlike the Caribbean Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus), which has a largely overlapping distribution, P. guttatus is of limited commercial interest throughout most of its range. On some islands, however, it contributes significantly to satisfying the demand for luxury seafood. The main fisheries for this species are around Bermuda and Martinique, although limited fisheries probably exist elsewhere. (Sharp et al. 1997 and references therein; Briones-Fourzan and Contreras-Ortiz 1999; Wynne and Cote 2007)

Panulirus guttatus is an obligate reef-dweller, rarely leaving the confines of the reef, and found especially on the fore reef. Several early studies of P. guttatus in Florida investigated the sex ratio, size distribution, and reproductive seasonality of a population living at man-made jetties near Miami Beach. Based on data from their study in the Florida Keys, Sharp et al. (1997) concluded that an individual P. guttatus spends its entire benthic life on a small portion of the fore reef, perhaps even on a single spur. Panulirus guttatus adults forage on the reef at night. They spend the day in dens that extend deep into the reef. There is some indication that males may guard den entrances to protect harems of females from other males. This behaviour has been observed in P. argus both in the laboratory and in the field. The sheltering requirements of P. guttatus appear to be much more specific than those of P. argus. This restriction of acceptable shelter characteristics for P. guttatus may be the primary factor controlling the abundance of this obligate reef-dweller. (Sharp et al. 1997 and references therein; Briones-Fourzan and Contreras-Ortiz 1999)

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© Shapiro, Leo

Source: EOL Rapid Response Team

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