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

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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.

Affiliations: 1: 1Department of Marine Sciences, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, P.O. Box 9000, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico 00680-9000 ; 2: 2Fisheries Research Laboratory, CODREMAR, P.O. Box 3665, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico 00680-3665

3Corresponding author; e-mail: ernest.williams1@upr.edu
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2018-01-10
2018-09-21

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