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FACTORS REGULATING MICROHABITAT USE BY YOUNG JUVENILE SPINY LOBSTERS, PANULIRUS ARGUS: FOOD AND SHELTER

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ABSTRACT Habitation patterns of algal-dwelling juvenile spiny lobsters, Panulirus argus, are apparently regulated by a) the availability of epifaunal prey, and/or b) limited sheltering qualities provided by algal branching. Predictions derived from each hypothesis were tested by monitoring emigration from normal (prey abundant), rinsed (prey reduced), and rinsed but structurally enhanced clumps of red algae, Laurencia spp. Density dependent emigration from untreated clumps containing natural prey, and markedly increased emigration from clumps nearly void of potential prey, suggest that trophic pressures play an important role in regulating algal habitation. Solitary dwelling induced by agonistic behavior may function to reduce required foraging area, thus minimizing both exposure to predators and energetic expenditures.

Affiliations: 1: (JM) Bureau of Marine Research, Florida Department of Natural Resources, 11400 Overseas Hwy., Suite 220, Marathon, Florida 33050; 2: (WH) Department of Biological Science, Florida State University, Tallahasee, Florida 32306.

10.1163/1937240X85X00452
/content/journals/10.1163/1937240x85x00452
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/content/journals/10.1163/1937240x85x00452
2017-11-19

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