Annual juvenile recruitment of spiny lobsters, Panulirus argus (Decapoda, Palinuridae), in a shallow seagrass bed and a deeper hard bottom off western Puerto Rico

in Crustaceana
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We found 158 juvenile Caribbean spiny lobsters (Panulirus argus) recruiting over a year into 10 artificial shelters in shallow (2-3 m) seagrass beds, but none recruiting into 10 shelters on deeper (approximately 10 m) hard bottom. Spiny lobster juveniles were observed at 10 m or greater depth in submerged fish cages. They may have been strained out by currents rather than naturally recruiting. A large number of these cages inshore could impede natural lobster recruitment. One of the shallow shelters recruited most (85/158) of the juveniles and two shelters recruited most of all (118/158). With no discernable natural habitat difference, we assume that early recruitment into those shelters and the “guide effect” may have been responsible for these preferences. Previous Caribbean studies found the maximum settling periods of juveniles in August to December. Our results were similar with the exception of having more recruits one month later (August to January). Shelters with covers had more juveniles than those without covers; however, this result was largely due to the preponderance of juveniles in one shelter.

Crustaceana

International Journal of Crustacean Research

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Figures

  • Map of Puerto Rico with the location of the artificial shelter sites for Panulirus argus (Latreille, 1804) in the inset.

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  • Lobster artificial shelter as used in this study, to entice juveniles of Panulirus argus (Latreille, 1804).

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  • Total number of lobster, Panulirus argus (Latreille, 1804), recruits at the shallow artificial shelters.

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