Overview

Distribution

Range Description

This species is endemic to New Zealand, and is found on the continental shelf around both islands as far east as the Chatham Islands (Holthuis 1991).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species occurs in mud or sandy mud substrate at depths of 140-640 m (Holthuis 1991). Its size at maturity is 30 mm, which it usually achieves after three to four years, and may live for up to 15 years (Cryer and Oliver 2001). It has a very large egg size associated with low fecundity (about 10-20% of other commercial species, such as Nephrops norvegicus) (MacDiarmid and Sainte-Marie 2006).

Systems
  • Marine
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Depth range from 140 to 640 m; substrate mud or sandy mud, firm enough for burrowing.
  • Holthuis, L.B. 1991. FAO species catalogue. Vol 13. Marine lobsters of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of species of interest to fisheries known to date. FAO fisheries Synopsis. 125 (13):292 p.
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Depth range based on 1576 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 1171 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 143.5 - 855
  Temperature range (°C): 3.687 - 13.721
  Nitrate (umol/L): 8.769 - 31.538
  Salinity (PPS): 34.291 - 35.332
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.332 - 6.486
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.702 - 2.203
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.349 - 36.407

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 143.5 - 855

Temperature range (°C): 3.687 - 13.721

Nitrate (umol/L): 8.769 - 31.538

Salinity (PPS): 34.291 - 35.332

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.332 - 6.486

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.702 - 2.203

Silicate (umol/l): 1.349 - 36.407
 
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Metanephrops challengeri

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 23
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Genomic DNA is available from 1 specimen with morphological vouchers housed at TBD (Western Australian Museum?)
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
Wahle, R., MacDiarmid, A., Butler, M., Cockcroft, A. & Chan, T.Y.

Reviewer/s
Collen, B., Livingstone, S. & Richman, N.

Contributor/s
Batchelor, A., De Silva, R., Dyer, E., Kasthala, G., Lutz, M.L., McGuinness, S., Milligan, H.T., Soulsby, A.-M. & Whitton, F.

Justification
Metanephrops challengeri has been assessed as Least Concern. While this species is harvested in parts of its range, it is not thought that this constitutes a major threat to the global population at the present time owing to recent conservation measures such as the Quote Management System.
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Population

Population
In the Bay of Plenty, off the coast of New Zealand's North Island, this species made up more than 60% of the invertebrate catch in trawl surveys (Cryer et al. 2002). Estimates of abundance from underwater photography in the same location ranged from 12-28 million animals (including those spotted in burrows and walking), down to 2-11 million (just those animals walking on the sediment, i.e. most susceptible to capture by trawl), although the latter estimate is far less reliable (Cryer et al. 2005). Biomass estimates over the period 1998 to 2003 showed a decline: for all visible scampi, from 988 tonnes to 509 tonnes, and for extrapolations based on burrow openings, ~5,500 tonnes to 3,600 tonnes.

Although little information is available on population structure, preliminary genetic work suggests a high degree of heterogeneity, with up to four genetically distinct sub-populations. Other evidence supports the treatment of these as separate management units (NZ Ministry of Fisheries 2009).

Catch per unit effort (CPUE) has declined since 1995 (Cryer et al. 2005), although with different timing patterns in different Quota Management Areas (QMAs). SCI1 (Auckland East), the oldest fishery, and SCI2 (Central) have both shown declines since peaking in the mid-1990s, and have been relatively stable, although at historically low levels since 2000. SCI3 (South East Coast and Western Chatham Islands), the largest fishery, increased gradually before peaking in 2000 and has declined since to low levels. SCI4A (Chatham Islands East) peaked in 2001 before declining rapidly. SCI6A (Auckland Islands), the second largest fishery, declined rapidly in the early 1990s and has been stable since then. No areas of the fishery show an increasing trend in CPUE, although trends fluctuate. All fishery areas for which data exists have shown substantial declines of between 30 and 80% (M.J. Butler, A.C. Cockcroft, A.B. MacDiarmid and R.A. Wahle pers. comm. 2008).

Stock assessments for this species have been hampered by the lack of a reliable index of abundance (for example, research trawl and commercial CPUE both suffer from temporal changes in catch vulnerability) (Cryer et al. 2005). Assessments of abundance vary according to which estimate is used: if biomass of visible scampi is used, landings represent a significant (12.1 to 27.6%) proportion of total scampi biomass, but if extrapolations from burrow counts are used, fishing only accounts for 2.2-3.6% of the total stock in the Bay of Plenty (Cryer et al. 2005). Those based on visible scampi are likely to be conservative and affected by seasonal and diurnal changes in lobster emergence, while those based on burrow counts assume that burrow occupancy is constant from year to year (which is thus far unknown).

Estimated declines in biomass are consistent with a decline in commercial catch per unit effort (CPUE) since 1996 (Hartill and Cryer 2003); in recent years Total Allowable Catch (TAC) targets have not been met due to fleet economics. CPUE data is available which shows consistent patterns among fishing areas of gradual or rapid increases followed by declines since around 2000 (NZ Ministry of Fisheries 2009). However, these unstandardized analyses are not considered reliable indices of abundance by the Shellfish Fishery Assessment Working Group, and should therefore be interpreted with caution.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
This species is only commercially exploited in a few parts of its range. This is because there are large areas where there is muddy ground broken up with rocky ground and therefore not trawlable. Thus creating natural refugia. Only the emergent fraction is harvested at any one point in time, and only the high density aggregations are exploited. Furthermore, there is a responsive management regime in place, and there are fishery indepenedent surveys coming into place. (A. MacDiarmid pers. comm. 2009) However, according to the New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries "There are no stock assessments or yield estimates for any scampi stock. It is not known if recent catches and current catch limits for any scampi stock are sustainable in the long term..." (NZ Ministry of Fisheries 2009).

Furthermore, trawling can indirectly affect scampi and other species through impacts on seabed habitats; it has been shown to reduce benthic biodiversity (NZ Ministry of Fisheries 2009). Small amounts of scampi may also be taken as bycatch during trawls for other species, although this is not thought to be a major threat.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Trawl fishery access within the range of this species is restricted using a mixture of: vessel retrictions, competitive catch limits, and individually allocated catch limits. Since October 2004, this species was introduced to the Quota Management System (QMS) which directly controls harvest levels for distinct fish stocks in Quota Management Areas (QMA) (M.J. Butler, A.C. Cockcroft, A.B. MacDiarmid and R.A. Wahle pers. comm. 2008).
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Wikipedia

Metanephrops challengeri

Metanephrops challengeri (commonly known as the New Zealand lobster or New Zealand scampi) is a species of slim, pink lobster that lives around the coast of New Zealand. It is typically 13–18 cm (5–7 in) long and weighs around 100 g (3.5 oz). The carapace and abdomen are smooth, and adults are white with pink and brown markings and a conspicuous pair of long, slim claws. M. challengeri lives in burrows at depths of 140–640 m (460–2,100 ft) in a variety of sediments. Although individuals can live for up to 15 years, the species shows low fecundity, where small numbers of larvae hatch at an advanced stage.

M. challengeri is a significant prey item for ling, as well as being an important fishery species for human consumption; trawlers catch around 1,000 t (2,200,000 lb) per year under the limitations of New Zealand's Quota Management System. The species was first collected by the Challenger expedition of 1872–1876, but only described as separate from related species by Heinrich Balss in 1914. Although originally classified in the genus Nephrops, it was moved in 1972 to a new genus, Metanephrops, along with most other species then classified in Nephrops.

Description[edit]

Metanephrops challengeri is a slender lobster, typically 13–18 centimetres (5.1–7.1 in) long, but exceptionally up to 25 cm (9.8 in),[2] and weighing up to 100 grams (3.5 oz) each.[3] Its chelipeds (legs bearing the main chelae, or claws) are long, narrow, and slightly unequal.[4] The second and third pairs of pereiopods also end in small claws, but the fourth and fifth pairs do not.[4] The carapace is smooth, and extends forwards into a long, narrow rostrum, only slightly shorter than the carapace.[4]

Adults are mostly white, but the front half of the rostrum, and the sides of the abdomen, are pink.[4] Bright red bands extend across the base of the rostrum, the posterior edge of the carapace, the chelipeds, and each of the abdominal segments.[4] The dorsal parts of the abdomen are brown, and there are two brown saddles on the dorsal carapace.[4]

M. challengeri is considered to have the most primitive morphology of any species of Metanephrops, having even fewer novelties than the oldest known fossil species, M. rossensis.[5] Its rostrum is longer than that of other species in the thomsoni species group, and the ridge along the midline of the carapace only has two small spines.[5][6] Unlike some other species of Metanephrops, the carapace is smooth, as are the abdominal tergae, and the chelipeds are covered in fine granules.[6]

Life cycle[edit]

Metanephrops challengeri reaches sexual maturity at the age of 3–4 years, and may live up to 15 years in total.[1] Females produce very large eggs in small numbers;[1] they are typically around 2.5 mm (0.1 in) in diameter,[7] and are blue in colour.[4] The larvae hatch at the zoea stage (equivalent to the third zoea of the Northern Hemisphere species Nephrops norvegicus).[7] The zoea larvae are 10.0–11.5 mm (0.39–0.45 in) long, and possess all the appendages of the cephalothorax, including the pereiopods, which are used for swimming, but no pleopods (appendages of the abdomen).[7] This larval stage lasts less than four days, before the young moult into the post-larval stage.[7] The post-larva swims using its pleopods.[7] The post-larva later moults into the adult form. Larvae are rarely seen in the wild, confirming that the development to the bottom-dwelling post-larva is rapid.[7]

Distribution and ecology[edit]

Continental shelf areas of New Zealand. Scampi fishing is focused on the Campbell Plateau. The Alpine Fault and the limits of the submerged continent Zealandia are also marked.

Metanephrops challengeri lives around the coasts of New Zealand, including the Chatham Islands, at depths of 140–640 metres (460–2,100 ft).[2] It lives in burrows in a variety of "suitable cohesive" sediments,[8] and is a significant prey item for ling (Genypterus blacodes).[9] Lobsters have few parasites,[10] the most important for M. challengeri being the microsporidian Myospora metanephrops.[11] This can cause "destruction of the skeletal and heart muscles of infected lobsters", but its significance for the animals and for the fishing industry remains unclear.[11] When it was described in 2010, M. metanephrops was the first microsporidian to be isolated from a true lobster.[10]

Fisheries[edit]

Metanephrops challengeri has been harvested commercially since the 1980s. Between the season of 1988/89 and 1990/91, the amount of scampi caught around New Zealand increased from only 55,000 kilograms (121,000 lb) to around 500,000 kg (1,100,000 lb).[12] Catch limits were introduced in 1990/91,[12] and now 1,000,000 kg (2,200,000 lb) is caught annually by trawlers.[11] The fishery is centred on four areas of continental shelf of the submerged continent Zealandia: the Campbell Plateau around the Auckland Islands, Chatham Rise, along the Wairarapa coast, and in the Bay of Plenty.[12]

Most of the fishing vessels used to capture M. challengeri are 20–40 metres (66–131 ft) long, with "double or triple trawl rigs of low headline height".[8] There is considerable variation in the catch per unit effort between different depths, between different geographical areas and between different years.[8] M. challengeri is considered a luxury foodstuff. Most of the catch is exported and as a result, it is rarely seen in restaurants in New Zealand.[13]

Metanephrops challengeri was the subject of a 2003 select committee inquiry in the New Zealand parliament, after allegations of corruption arose against officers of the Ministry of Fisheries. Although the allegations were quashed, the inquiry ruled that preferential treatment had been given to the large fishing company Simunovich Fisheries.[3] In response, the government introduced M. challengeri into their Quota Management System[14] and paid compensation to some fishermen who had a justified grievance.[15] Under QMS, an overall limit of 1,291,000 kg (2,846,000 lb) was put in place for M. challengeri in 2011.[16]

Conservation[edit]

New Zealand sea lions are occasionally caught during the scampi fishery as bycatch.

Metanephrops challengeri is currently listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, due in part to the Quota Management System put in place by the New Zealand government.[1] The species does appear to be declining, however, based both on burrow counts and analyses of catch per unit effort.[1] Estimates of the total population size of M. challengeri vary depending on the methods used. Based on indirect measures, such as burrow counts, there may be as many as 28 million individuals, and the annual catch might represent only 2%–4% of the total population.[1] Using more reliable figures based on those animals seen during surveys, there may be only 2–11 million individuals available to trawlers, and the annual catch may remove 12%–28% of that population.[1] Bycatch from the New Zealand scampi fishery has included the New Zealand sea lion, Phocarctos hookeri,[17][18] which is considered a vulnerable species by the IUCN.[19]

Taxonomy[edit]

Metanephrops challengeri was first described by Heinrich Balss in 1914, under the name Nephrops challengeri.[2] Two specimens had been collected on the Challenger expedition from benthic Globigerina ooze at a depth of 275 fathoms (1,650 ft; 503 m), on the Challenger Plateau in the Tasman Sea (38°50.5′S 169°20′E / 38.8417°S 169.333°E / -38.8417; 169.333).[2] They had been included by Charles Spence Bate in his report on the crustaceans collected by the Challenger expedition, but were not separated from "Nephrops thomsoni" (now Metanephrops thomsoni), which was described by Spence Bate as a new species. Balss recognised that Spence Bate's N. thomsoni covered two species and, restricting the name M. thomsoni to the species containing the type specimens designated by Spence Bate (from the Philippines), created a new species for the species from New Zealand. Balss chose the two specimens seen by Spence Bate to be the type specimens of his new species, Nephrops challengeri.[4] Both were females, and they have been deposited at the Natural History Museum in London.[2]

The species was transferred to a new genus, Metanephrops (along with every other extant species then in Nephrops, except its type species, Nephrops norvegicus) by Richard Jenkins of the University of Adelaide in 1972.[20] Jenkins placed M. challengeri among the "thomsoni group" within the genus Metanephrops, alongside M. thomsoni, M. sibogae, M. boschmai and M. sinensis.[20] Jenkins inferred that this group of species had originated off northern Australia or in Indonesia, and that M. challengeri had reached New Zealand in the late Tertiary and displaced M. motunauensis, which formerly lived there.[20] More recently, findings from molecular phylogenetics suggest that M. challengeri has a basal position in the genus, possibly linked to M. neptunus, and that the genus may have originated at high latitudes in the South Atlantic.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g R. Wahle, A. MacDiarmid, M. Butler, T. Y. Chan & A. Cockcroft (2011). "Metanephrops challengeri". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Lipke B. Holthuis (1991). "Metanephrops challengeri". Marine Lobsters of the World. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125. Food and Agriculture Organization. p. 72. ISBN 978-92-5-103027-1. 
  3. ^ a b Niel Bruce & Alison MacDiarmid (2 March 2009). "Lobsters, prawn and krill". Crabs, crayfish and other crustaceans. Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 13 June 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h J. C. Yaldwyn (1954–1955). "Nephrops challengeri Balss, 1914, (Crustacea, Decapoda, Reptantia) from New Zealand and Chatham Island waters". Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand 82 (3): 721–732. 
  5. ^ a b c Tin-Yam Chan, Ka Chai Ho, Chi Pang Li & Ka Hou Chu (2009). "Origin and diversification of the clawed lobster genus Metanephrops (Crustacea: Decapoda: Nephropidae)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 50 (3): 411–422. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2008.11.020. PMID 19070670. 
  6. ^ a b Dale Tshudy, Tin-Yam Chan & Ulf Sorhannus (2007). "Morphology based cladistic analysis of Metanephrops: the most diverse extant genus of clawed lobster (Nephropidae)". Journal of Crustacean Biology 27 (3): 463–476. doi:10.1651/S-2777.1. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Robert G. Wear (1976). "Studies on the larval development of Metanephrops challengeri (Balss, 1914) (Decapoda, Nephropidae)". Crustaceana 30 (2): 113–122. doi:10.1163/156854076x00521. JSTOR 20102305. 
  8. ^ a b c M. Cryer, K. Downing, B. Hartill, J. Drury, H. J. Armiger, C. Middleton & M. D. Smith (2005). "Digital photography as a stock assessment tool for Metanephrops challengeri on New Zealand's continental slope". In Ross Shotton. Deep Sea 2003: Conference on the Governance and Management of Deep-sea Fisheries. Part 1: Conference Reports, 1–5 December 2003, Queenstown, New Zealand. FAO Fisheries Proceedings 3/1. Food and Agriculture Organization. ISBN 92-5-105402-9. 
  9. ^ Matthew R. Dunn, Amelia M. Connell, Jeff Forman, Darren W. Stevens & Peter L. Horn (2010). "Diet of two large sympatric teleosts, the ling (Genypterus blacodes) and hake (Merluccius australis)". PLoS One 5 (10): e13647. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013647. PMC 2965093. PMID 21048962. 
  10. ^ a b G. D. Stentiford, K. S. Bateman, H. J. Small, J. Moss, J. D. Shields, K. S. Reece & I. Tuck (2010). "Myospora metanephrops (n. g., n. sp.) from marine lobsters and a proposal for erection of a new order and family (Crustaceacida; Myosporidae) in the Class Marinosporidia (Phylum Microsporidia)" (PDF). International Journal for Parasitology 40 (12): 1433–1446. doi:10.1016/j.ijpara.2010.04.017. PMID 20558169. 
  11. ^ a b c Grant D. Stentiford & Douglas M. Neil (2011). "Diseases of Nephrops and Metanephrops: a review". Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 106 (1): 92–109. doi:10.1016/j.jip.2010.09.017. PMID 21215358. 
  12. ^ a b c P. J. Smith (1999). "Allozyme variation in scampi (Metanephrops challengeri) fisheries around New Zealand". New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 33 (3): 491–497. doi:10.1080/00288330.1999.9516894. 
  13. ^ "Ross Woodvine - keeping it simple, keeping it Kiwi". Foodstyle Review Magazine. Winter 2011. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  14. ^ Pete Hodgson (2 December 2003). "Scampi inquiry delivers thorough report". Ministry of Fisheries. Retrieved 13 June 2011. 
  15. ^ Anonymous (31 March 2005). "Another scampi fisher accepts compensation". Ministry of Fisheries. Retrieved 13 June 2011. 
  16. ^ "Spiny red rock lobster (CRA)". New Zealand Fisheries information website. Ministry of Fisheries. Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  17. ^ Ian Wilkinson, Jacqui Burgess & Martin Cawthorn (2003). "New Zealand sea lions and squid: managing fisheries impact on a threatened marine mammal". In Nicholas Gales, Mark Hindell & Roger Kirkwood. Marine Mammals: Fisheries, Tourism and Management Issues. CSIRO Publishing. pp. 192–207. ISBN 978-0-643-09926-5. 
  18. ^ "Population Management Plan for New Zealand Sea Lion Phocarctos hookeri" (Draft). Department of Conservation. August 2007. ISBN 978-0-478-14235-8. Archived from the original on 15 October 2008. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  19. ^ N. Gales (2008). "Phocarctos hookeri". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  20. ^ a b c Richard J. F. Jenkins (1972). "Metanephrops, a new genus of Late Pliocene to Recent lobsters (Decapoda, Nephropidae)". Crustaceana 22 (2): 161–177. doi:10.1163/156854072X00426. JSTOR 20101873. 

Further reading[edit]

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