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First record of an early benthic juvenile likely to be that of the Mediterranean slipper lobster, Scyllarides latus (Latreille, 1802)

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To date no nisto and/or live juvenile of the Mediterranean slipper lobster, Scyllarides latus (Latreille, 1802), has been found despite intensive sampling efforts. In the early 1900s, a tiny preserved specimen, almost certainly of this species, with carapace length of 11.7 mm, sampled in Reggio Calabria, southern Italy, was captured and deposited in the Zoological Museum of Turin. This early scyllarid juvenile, likely a recent benthic recruit, varies somewhat from the adult form of the local Mediterranean species, S. latus, by having a carapace width that is greater than the carapace length and by having more prominent tubercles than adults. These same features also have been noted in nistos of a few other non-Mediterranean Scyllarides species, especially those of S. nodifer (Stimpson, 1866). Although the collection information for this specimen was incomplete, additional data on habitats of sub-adults of S. latus enable the construction of a hypothetical recruitment scenario. It is likely that S. latus larvae drift large distances for many months in the pelagic before settling as nistos in deeper water where they are possibly more protected against predators and develop to small juveniles before returning to the shallower adult grounds as migrating larger juveniles or sub-adults.

Affiliations: 1: 1The Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies & Department of Maritime Civilizations, The Leon H. Charney School for Marine Sciences, University of Haifa, Mount Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel; 2: 2Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, College of General Studies, Boston University, 871 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, U.S.A.

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