Reef lobster

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bug lobsters
Enoplometopus antillensis01.jpg
Enoplometopus antillensis
Scientific classification
Enoplometopoidea [1]



Type species
Enoplometopus pictus

Hoplometopus Holthuis, 1983

Reef lobsters, Enoplometopus, are a genus of small lobsters that live on reefs in the Indo-Pacific, Caribbean and warmer parts of the Atlantic Ocean.[3]


Species of Enoplometopus occur from coral reefs at depths of less than 1 metre (3 ft 3 in)[4] to rocky reefs at depths of 300 m (980 ft).[5] They are brightly coloured, with stripes, rings, or spots. They are typically mainly red, orange, purplish and white.[3] Reef lobsters are small (depending on species, up to 10–13 centimetres or 4–5 inches), nocturnal (spending the day in caves or crevices), and very timid.[3] The species can be distinguished by their colouration and morphology.[3]

As a result of their bright colours, they are popular in the aquarium trade, and unregulated collection combined with destruction of coral reefs may threaten some species. Due to uncertainty over the impact of these potential threats, the majority are considered data deficient by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.[6]

Reef lobsters are distinguished from clawed lobsters (family Nephropidae) by having full chelae (claws) only on the first pair of pereiopods, the second and third pairs being only subchelate (where the last segment of the appendage can press against a short projection from the penultimate one). Clawed lobsters have full claws on the first three pereiopods. Males, unlike those of nephropoid lobsters, have an extra lobe on the second pleopod, which is assumed to have some function in reproduction. Reef lobsters have a shallow cervical groove while clawed lobsters have a deep cervical groove.[1]

Although there is no fossil record of reef lobsters, there is some evidence that they may be related to the extinct genus Eryma which lived from the Permo-Triassic to the late Cretaceous.[7]


The genus contains the following species:[8]


  1. ^ a b Michèle de Saint Laurent (1988). "Enoplometopoidea, nouvelle superfamille de Crustacés Décapodes Astacidea". Comptes rendus de l'Académie des sciences. III. 307: 59–62.
  2. ^ L. B. Holthuis (1983). "Notes on the genus Enoplometopus, with descriptions of a new subgenus and two new species (Crustacea Decapoda, Axiidae)" (PDF). Zoologische Mededelingen. 56 (22): 281–298, pls. 1–4.
  3. ^ a b c d Helmut Debelius (2001). Crustacea: Guide of the World. Frankfurt am Main: IKAN, Unterwasserarchiv. pp. 44–54, 200–205. ISBN 978-3-931702-74-8.
  4. ^ Chan, T.Y. & Wahle, R. (2011). "Enoplometopus daumi". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2011: e.T184985A8340177. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2011-1.RLTS.T184985A8340177.en. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  5. ^ Chan, T.Y. & Wahle, R. (2011). "Enoplometopus gracilipes". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2011: e.T185005A8345117. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2011-1.RLTS.T185005A8345117.en. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  6. ^ T. Y. Chan & R. Wahle (2009). "Version 2011.1". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
  7. ^ F. R. Schram & C. J. Dixon (2004). "Decapod phylogeny: addition of fossil evidence to a robust morphological cladistic data set" (PDF). Bulletin of the Mizunami Fossil Museum. 31: 1–19.
  8. ^ J. Poupin (2003). "Reef lobsters Enoplometopus A. Milne Edwards, 1862 from French Polynesia, with a brief revision of the genus (Crustacea, Decapoda, Enoplometopidae)" (PDF). Zoosystema. 25 (4): 643–664.