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Individual study: Influence of shelter availability on interactions between Caribbean spiny lobsters and moray eels: implications for artificial lobster enhancement

Published source details

Lozano-Álvarez E., Briones-Fourzán P., Álvarez-Filip L., Weiss H., Negrete-Soto F. & Barradas-Ortiz C. (2010) Influence of shelter availability on interactions between Caribbean spiny lobsters and moray eels: implications for artificial lobster enhancement. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 400, 175-185


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Provide artificial shelters Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation

A replicated, controlled study in summer 2012–2013 of multiple sites in two areas of either rocky, sandy or seagrass bed in the Florida Keys, USA (Gutzler et al. 2015) found that the effects of artificial shelters (‘casitas’) on the nutritional condition of Caribbean spiny lobsters Panulirus argus varied with location, and that lobsters occupying them had similar sex ratio and typically similar survival, compared to lobsters in natural shelters, but lobsters in the artificial shelters were larger. The nutritional condition of lobsters (data presented as an index) differed between the two areas, but within each area lobsters inside artificial shelters had greater nutritional condition than lobsters in crevices. In addition, artificial shelters hosted larger lobsters (average 66 mm) than crevices (52 mm). Each artificial shelter was on averaged occupied by 22–41 lobsters. In three of four comparisons, lobster survival following predation experiment was similar in artificial (59–97% survival) and natural shelters (57–93% survival). In one comparison (of lobsters <35 mm), survival was lower in artificial (56% survival), compared to natural shelters (82% survival). The ‘casitas’ (4 m2) were flat rectangular structures with at least two open sides. In one area, ’casitas’ (number unspecified) had been deployed in 1990 (at 2–3 m depth). In the other area, 16 were deployed (at 10 m depth). In May–August 2012–2013, divers counted lobsters occupying 16 of the ‘casitas’, and collected lobsters using hand nets and tail snares found inside artificial and natural shelters at all sites. All lobsters were measured (carapace length), their sex recorded, and a subset was used to assess nutritional condition based on the weight of their lobster’s digestive gland. Divers also experimentally assessed lobster mortality from predation inside artificial and natural shelters (using a tethering method).

(Summarised by Anaëlle Lemasson & Laura Pettit)