Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Determination of preferred habitats of early benthic juvenile California spiny lobster, Panulirus interruptus, on the Pacific coast of Baja California Sur, Mexico

Verónica Castañeda-Fernández de Lara A , Mark Butler B , Sergio Hernández-Vázquez A , Sergio Guzmán del Próo C and Elisa Serviere-Zaragoza A D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste (CIBNOR), La Paz, B.C.S. 23090, Mexico.

B Department of Biological Sciences, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0266, USA.

C Escuela Nacional de Ciencias Biológicas, Laboratorio de Ecología, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, México, D.F. 02800, Mexico.

D Corresponding author. Email: serviere04@cibnor.mx

Marine and Freshwater Research 56(7) 1037-1045 https://doi.org/10.1071/MF04284
Submitted: 30 November 2004  Accepted: 11 August 2005   Published: 3 November 2005

Abstract

The habitat requirements of early benthic stage juveniles of California spiny lobster Panulirus interruptus are known only from studies conducted near its northernmost geographic range, where environmental conditions differ markedly from those along the Pacific coast of the southern Baja California Peninsula (Mexico). We determined the natural habitat of this stage of P. interruptus in the central portion of their range from sampling the available dominant vegetated habitats included various seagrasses and macroalgae. Additionally, experiments on habitat selection by early benthic juvenile P. interruptus were performed under laboratory conditions to test natural substrate selection and whether selection of substrata is affected by odour signals. Despite the abundance of different macrophytes as habitat, 93% of the juvenile lobsters were found at the base of the blades of Phyllospadix spp. in the intertidal zone at 0 to 3 m. The highest juvenile densities were found in September at both sites. In laboratory experiments, juvenile lobsters preferred, in order of preference, Gelidium robustum, Phyllospadix, Plocamium pacificum, and holdfasts of the kelp Macrocystis pyrifera. A second laboratory experiment showed that these preferences were affected by odour signals. Results indicate that the ecology of juvenile P. interruptus off the coast of the Mexican Baja is similar to that observed off the coast of southern California.

Extra keywords: early benthic stage juveniles, habitat preference, Panulirus interruptus, Phyllospadix, spiny lobster.


Acknowledgments

This research was supported by the National Counsel of Science and Technology (CONACYT 35151-B) and a CIBNOR institutional project, and partial supported by the project (NSF-0410439/CIBNOR 995–0). V. Castañeda received a fellowship from CONACYT Grant 112870. We thank Carlos Gomez-Rojo and Armando Vega-Velázquez, Coordinator of the lobster programme at the Regional Fishery Research Centre (INP-CRIP, La Paz), for logistical assistance, Juan José Ramírez for technical support in the field, and Alma Rosa Rivera for assistance with algae analysis in the laboratory. To ‘INP-CRIP, La Paz’ and ‘Escuela Nacional de Ciencias Biológicas, Laboratorio de Ecología, IPN’ for the supply of juveniles from artificial collectors. Fishing cooperatives ‘La Purísima’ and ‘Bahía Tortugas’, and especially Ignacio Villavicencio, and Alejandro Villa Bastida provided assistance in the field. The editor at CIBNOR improved the English text.


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