Panulirus argus

Panulirus argus (Latreille, 1804)

Common Names

Caribbean spiny lobster (English)

Languages: English

Description

Diagnostic Description

The Caribbean Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus) has an antennular plate with 4 large spines arranged in a square; there are no scattered small spinules. The third maxilliped has an exopod with a flagellum. The transverse grooves of the abdominal somites have margins that are straight, not crenulated, where interrupted, they gradually narrow toward the middle of the body, rather than end abruptly. The color of the abdominal somites is reddish, brownish, or sometimes greenish, without transverse colour bands. A large eyespot of whitish or yellowish, surrounded by a dark colour, is present over the anterior end of the base of the pleura of abdominal somite 2; a similar (even slightly larger) spot is present on the anterolateral parts of somite 6. The tail fan has a broad transverse reddish band along or just before the posterior margin. (Holthuis 1991)

Author(s): Shapiro, Leo
Rights holder(s): Shapiro, Leo

Size

Maximum body length of the Caribbean Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus) is about 45 cm, with an average length of about 20 cm (Holthuis 1991).

Author(s): Shapiro, Leo
Rights holder(s): Shapiro, Leo

Ecology

Habitat

The Caribbean Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus) inhabits shallow waters, occasionally down to 90 meters and possibly even deeper. It is found among rocks, on reefs, in eelgrass beds, and in other habitats habitat that provide protection. (Holthuis 1991)

Author(s): Shapiro, Leo
Rights holder(s): Shapiro, Leo

Distribution

The Caribbean Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus) occues in the Western Atlantic from Bermuda and North Carolina (U.S.A.) to Rio de Janeiro (Brazil),  including the entire Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. It has been reported twice from West Africa (Ivory Coast). (Holthuis 1991)

Author(s): Shapiro, Leo
Rights holder(s): Shapiro, Leo

Cyclicity

The Caribbean Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus) is gregarious and migratory. Females move to deeper water for spawning and there are mass migrations in the autumn when the animals, in single files of up to 50 individuals, move together in a certain direction during the day, each animal having body contact with the next via their antennae. (Holthuis 1991)

Author(s): Shapiro, Leo
Rights holder(s): Shapiro, Leo

Reproduction

In the northern part of its range, larvae of the Caribbean Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus) are found mainly from June to December (Holthuis 1991).

Author(s): Shapiro, Leo
Rights holder(s): Shapiro, Leo

Relevance

Uses

The Caribbean Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus) is the most important commercial palinurid in American waters. It is fished practically throughout its range. The catches of this species reported in the FAO Yearbook of Fisheries Statistics amounted to 32,854 metric tons in 1987 and 33,903 metric tons in 1988, with most of the catch taken by Cuba, Brazil, Bahamas, the U.S.A, and Honduras. The species is mostly caught with traps, but is also taken by hand, speared, and trawled. It is marketed fresh; the tails are exported frozen or canned. (Holthuis 1991)

Author(s): Shapiro, Leo
Rights holder(s): Shapiro, Leo

References

Holthuis, L. B. (1991).  Marine Lobsters of the World: An Annotated and Illustrated Catalogue of Species of Interest to Fisheries Known to date. FAO Species Catalogue. 13, Rome, Italy: FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS.