Inter-Research > MEPS > v714 > p57-69  
Marine Ecology Progress Series

via Mailchimp

MEPS 714:57-69 (2023)  -  DOI:

Nature reserves facilitate conservation of the Mediterranean slipper lobster Scyllarides latus

Eyal Miller1,2, Ehud Spanier1,3,*, Roee Diamant4, Ruthy Yahel2

1Department of Maritime Civilizations, University of Haifa, Mount Carmel, Haifa 34988-38, Israel
2Israel Nature and Parks Authority, Jerusalem, 95463, Israel
3The Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies, University of Haifa, Mount Carmel, Haifa 34988- 38, Israel
4The Hatter Department of Marine Technologies, the Leon H. Charney School for Marine Sciences, University of Haifa, Mount Carmel, Haifa 34988-38, Israel
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The Mediterranean slipper lobster Scyllarides latus is a large and commercially valuable crustacean that has become less common in recent years due to overfishing. Adults follow a seasonal pattern: during their inshore reproductive season they shelter during daytime in rocky caves and crevices along the shallow Mediterranean shelf, while in fall they are assumed to migrate into deeper water. Our goal was to determine whether rocky marine reserves, already proven to successfully protect species with limited movement, can also facilitate conservation of the migratory S. latus. We used underwater daytime surveys to study S. latus abundance, density, sex, size, and the presence of berried females in the Rosh Hanikra-Achziv Marine Reserve along the northern Israeli Mediterranean coast. We also tagged lobsters inside the reserve with T-bar tags and tracked their activity using acoustic sensors. Acoustic telemetry revealed that S. latus was mostly nocturnal and mainly found in the deeper part of the reserve. We found higher abundance, higher density, and larger mean lobster size in the reserve compared to a nearby unprotected control site with similar topography and depth range. Thirty percent of the marked lobsters were subsequently recaptured inside the reserve. Recaptures, both during the same season and between seasons, indicated individual fidelity to specific dens. Our findings suggest that a well-protected reserve can enhance the conservation of S. latus. Since lobster size is positively correlated with reproductive potential in both sexes, reserves can also serve as a refuge, supplying propagules and juveniles to unprotected areas.

KEY WORDS: Levant · Scyllaridae · Rosh Hanikra-Achziv · Marine reserve · Tagging · Underwater visual survey · Acoustic telemetry

Full text in pdf format
Cite this article as: Miller E, Spanier E, Diamant R, Yahel R (2023) Nature reserves facilitate conservation of the Mediterranean slipper lobster Scyllarides latus. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 714:57-69.

Export citation
Share:    Facebook - - linkedIn

 Previous article Next article