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BIOLOGY OF THE EUROPEAN SPINY LOBSTER, PALINURUS ELEPHAS (FABRICIUS, 1787) (DECAPODA, PALINURIDEA)

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The European spiny lobster, Palinurus elephas, occurs in the Mediterranean Sea, and from the northwest African coast to Norway in the Atlantic. In the Mediterranean, peak moulting occurs in December-January and May to June. U.K. females moult from July to September and males moult mainly in winter. Moult frequency declines with size, pronouncedly in females of > 6 years. Percentage post-moulting growth is inversely proportional to size, especially in females, which have lower asymptotic size than males. For specimens of equal carapace length (CL), females are longer (TL). Eggs are released 10 days after nocturnal deposition of spermatophores during July-September. Berried females occur from September onwards. Incubation lasts 5 months in the Mediterranean and 9 months in the Atlantic. Fecundity is proportional to CL, with one clutch carried annually. Berried females measured a minimum 67 mm CL in the Mediterranean and 70 mm CL in the Atlantic. Fifty percent female maturity occurs at 82-86 mm CL. Eggs hatch in spring in the Mediterranean and early summer in the Atlantic. Phyllosomas measure 3 mm and moult 10x before metamorphosis to natant pueruli. Pueruli measure 21 mm TL, with convex carapaces and well developed abdomens and pleopods. After three moults, pueruli become post-pueruli, also measuring 21 mm, visually similar to adults. Pueruli and post-pueruli records are rare, and juveniles are seldom observed. Post-embryonic development to the post-puerulus takes 5-6 months in the Mediterranean. Attempts at larval culture have been unsuccessful. Adults feed preferentially on echinoderms and molluscs. Offshore migration occurs after egg-laying, with a return to shallower water in spring. Social behaviour is poorly understood. Regionally important fisheries are based in Corsica, Brittany, and southwest Britain and Ireland.

La langouste europeenne, Palinurus elephas, existe en Mediterranee et de la cote nord-ouest d'Afrique a la Norvege. En Mediterranee, le pic de mue se produit en decembre-janvier et maijuin. En Grande-Bretagne, les femelles muent de juillet a septembre et les males surtout en hiver. La frequence de mue decline avec la taille, de facon prononcee chez les femelles de plus de 6 ans. Le pourcentage de croissance de post-mue est inversement proportionnel a la taille, specialement chez les femelles, qui ont de plus faibles tailles asymptotiques que les males. Pour les specimens a longueur de carapace egale (CL), les femelles sont plus longues (TL). Les oeufs sont liberes 10 jours apres le depot nocturne des spermatophores de juillet a septembre. Les femelles ovigeres sont presentes a partir de septembre. L'incubation dure 5 mois en Mediterranee et 9 mois dans l'Atlantique. La fecondite est proportionnelle a la longueur de carapace, avec une ponte annuelle. Les femelles ovigeres mesuraient au moins 67 mm de carapace en Mediterranee et 70 mm dans l'Atlantique. Cinquante pourcents des femelles sont a maturite a 82-86 mm. Les oeufs eclosent au printemps en Mediterranee et au debut de l'ete dans l'Atlantique. Les phyllosomes mesurent 3 mm et muent 10 fois avant de se transformer en pueruli nageurs. Les pueruli mesurent 21 mm de longueur totale, ont des carapaces convexes et des abdomens et pl eopodes bien developpes. Apres trois mues, les pueruli deviennent des post-pueruli, qui mesurent aussi 21 mm, et sont apparemment semblables aux adultes. Pueruli et post-pueruli sont rares, et les juveniles sont aussi rarement observes. Le developpement post-embryonnaire du post-puerulus prend 5-6 mois en Mediterranee. Les essais de culture larvaire ont ete infructueux. Les adultes se nourrissent de preference sur les echinodermes et les mollusques. Les migrations vers le large surviennent apres la ponte, avec un retour en eau profonde au printemps. Le comportement social est mal connu. Des pecheries regionalement importantes sont situees en Corse, en Bretagne et au sud-ouest de la Grande-Bretagne et de l'Irlande.

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/content/journals/10.1163/156854099503609
1999-09-01
2015-07-29

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