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The Undiscovered Lobster: a First Look At the Social Behaviour of the Mediterranean Slipper Lobster, Scyllarides Latus (Decapoda, Scyllaridae)

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To investigate the behaviour of Scyllarides latus we built a 3000 1 tank with one glass side for observations, setup with ambient, unfiltered, running seawater and a natural assemblage of organisms. Half of the bottom was covered with a substrate made up of large biogenic rocks resembling the rocky reefs where the lobsters are abundant, the other half was covered with bare sand. Eight lobsters, 3 males and 5 females, were tagged and placed in the tanks. Lobsters initially spent significantly more time on the rock substrate, however, after two months they ceased to show a preference. After five months we added two large and two small concrete shelters, placed against the glass for observation. Lobsters preferred to reside together in the large rock shelter. In aggressive displays, usually in competition for food, the slipper lobsters displayed some distinctive behaviour patterns all centered around dislodging the opponent from its grip on the substrate. A dominance matrix made from tallying these aggressive encounters revealed a fairly linear dominance hierarchy amongst lobsters in the tank with the largest female in the dominant position.

Affiliations: 1: The Recanati Center of Maritime Studies, University of Haifa, Haifa 31905, Israel; 2: The Recanati Center of Maritime Studies and Department of Maritime Civilizations, University of Haifa, Haifa 31905, Israel


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