HCNSO Student Theses and Dissertations

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Defense Date


Document Type

Thesis - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology


Oceanographic Center

First Advisor

Amy C. Hirons

Second Advisor

Alex Soloviev

Third Advisor

Jonathan Shenker


A spiny (Palinuridae), slipper (Scyllaridae) and coral (Synaxidae) lobster larval composition and distribution study on the western edge of the Florida Current is presented. From the samples collected during 2007, phyllosoma larvae of Justitia longimanus, Panulirus argus, Parribacus spp., S. americanus, S. depressus and P. gundlachi were positively identified. Relative density catches of the phyllosoma larvae indicate that P. argus (Florida spiny lobster) is the most abundant species in the Straits of Florida. Data gathered during the study shows that P. argus larvae at different developmental stages occur throughout the year which supports the theory of multiple spawning and/or multiple sources. Larvae of genus Panulirus are difficult to distinguish from plankton samples and hence were identified as of P. argus since it is the most common species in the area. Family Palinuridae and Scyllaridae larval density spikes in July and May, coincide with their spawning peak periods of late March – early May and late January to late March respectively. Members of family Palinuridae showed higher densities at night, whereas those of family Scyllaridae showed higher densities during day catches. Larvae of all species showed close association between total length and developmental stage at earlier age. Variability in size and morphology within stage increases with older stages due to multiple molts and/or smaller sample size.

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